Part 2 of this article series includes the remaining SAQ components that I utilize during workouts. The majority of the drills here are done without equipment, which allows large groups of athletes to train with minimal out-of-pocket cost.
Jump Rope Drills
Jumping rope is not only a great way to increase foot speed but also timing and coordination. As with other neural acceleration exercises, stay light footed and bouncy and remain off of your heals. .
1 Foot (above)- Using the same criteria as above, stay on your right or left foot for the entire drill. Focus on your balance. You should not deviate from your starting point.
2 Feet (above)- Keep your feet together and bounce using the ankle joint and calf musculature without letting your heels touch the floor. Keep a slight bend in the knee and hip joints, and keep your head up.
Alternating Feet (above)- Alternate feet on each rope rotation. Try to stay relaxed and keep your feet close to the ground.
Backward (above)- Use the same criteria as the 2 Feet drill except rotate the rope backwards. Be sure to stay tall (many times individuals tend to lean forward at the hip during this drill).
High Knees (above)- Drive the knee up until you achieve a 90 degree hip angle. When you drive the knee up, dorsiflex the foot. The foot should stop directly under the knee, creating a 90 degree angle at the knee joint (a common mistake is to either kick the foot out in front of the knee or to tuck it under the hip). Keep a tall spine and do not lean or round your back with the knee drive. If you have trouble maintaining your posture, lower the height of the knee drive until your mobility improves. Make sure the knees come directly up in front of the body and return to their original start location.
Lateral Scissors (above)- Start with a hip width stance. After the first revolution, cross the right leg over the left. After the next revolution, return back to the hip width stance. Repeat for the prescribed number of revolutions before changing sides.
Linear Scissors (above)- Start with one foot in front of the other. Switch every rotation.
Side to Side (above)- Keep your feet together as if they are in one shoe. Jump side to side (one direction per rotation) without any linear deviation. Try to stay tall and maintain a good posture.
These drills are designed to be performed in short bursts of maximal speed. The athlete should consciously try to move the feet as fast as possible. The following teaching cues can be used for these drills
- Use a good athletic stance.
- Stay light on your feet.
- Do not stab the ground with your toes; pop the ground with a slap type foot motion.
- Do not slide the foot. If you hear a squeak, you are sliding the foot. Work for more of a "popping" action.
- Minimize ground contact time.
- Stay relaxed.
- Concentrate on your breathing (don’t hold your breath).
Athletes have the tendency to narrow their stance, so pay attention to foot width. Remember to keep the head up and the upper body loose. Staying relaxed will conserve energy and promote quickness.
Lateral Scissors (above) - Face down a line with it splitting your stance. Maintaining an athletic stance, quickly cross your legs so your feet switch sides of the line. This should be a simultaneous movement. Your shoulders should not move during the cross. Quickly return to the starting position. Cross again with the other foot in front. Keep your posture and maintain a relaxed upper body.
1 Foot Lateral (above) - Maintaining an athletic stance, face down a line with one foot on the line. The foot on the line will only move up and down while the other foot simultaneously moves toward the line and back to its starting position. Perform the next set with the other foot on the line. If a third set is to performed use the weak lead foot.
2 Feet Side to Side (above) - Maintaining an athletic stance, move both feet side to side across the line.
2 Feet Up and Back (above) - Maintaining an athletic stance, move both feet front to back across the line.
Linear Scissors (above) - Maintaining an athletic stance, start with your left foot behind the line and your right foot in front of the line. Switch both feet at the same time so the left foot is in front of the line and the right is behind. Repeat for time.
Quarter Eagle (above)- Chop your feet quickly. On command, twist back 90 degrees and rapidly return to center and chop. Alternate the direction you twist each time.
Scissors w/Rotation (above)- Maintaining an athletic stance, perform the linear scissors drill as described above. On command, perform a 90 degree twist. Perform a lateral scissors drill where your legs cross side to side. On command, turn 90 degrees and perform the scissors drill as described above. Continue for desired time.
Up Up Back Back (above)- Start by facing the line. Maintaining an athletic stance, step across the line with one foot immediately followed by the other. Step back to the starting position with one foot immediately followed by the other. Perform the entire set leading with the same foot. Perform the next set leading with the other foot. If a third set is to be performed, use the weak lead foot.
Place five dots on the ground. The first two should be side by side and approximately 18 inches apart. The next dot should split the first two but should be 18 inches in front of them. The final two dots should be side by side, 18 inches apart and 18 inches in front and splitting the middle dot. Number the dots starting with the first dot on the left as dot number one, the dot next to it as dot number two, the middle dot as dot number three, the far dot on the left as four and the far right as five.
The drills are labeled as followed: If there are two numbers, the first number is the location of the left foot, and the second is the location of the right foot. If there is a single number, both feet are located on that number. A dash (-) indicates movement. For instance, if the drill is "12-3," your left foot should start on the first dot and your right foot on the second dot. Both feet should than move to the third dot (and than back to one and two).
Stay relaxed during all drills. Keep your head up and hands and arms in a defensive position. Minimize ground contact time. Do not allow the feet to squeak on the floor.
Side to Side (above) - Start with both feet on dot number one. Move both feet to dot number two and back to one. Repeat.
Top Heavy Triangle (above)- Start with both feet on dot number three. Move your right foot to dot number one and your left foot to dot number two. Move both feet back to dot three and repeat.
Wide Close (above)- Start with your right foot on dot number one and your left foot on dot number two. Move both feet onto dot number three. Return to one and two and repeat.
Figure 8 - Both Feet (above)- Start with both feet on dot number one. Move from 1-2-3-4-5-3-1 in a figure 8 pattern with both feet. Repeat.
Wide Close Wide (above)- Start with your right foot on dot number one and your left foot on dot number two. Move both feet onto dot number three and then back so your right foot is on dot number four and your left is on dot number five. Move back up so both feet are on dot number three and than back to the start and repeat.
Lateral Scissors (above)- Start with your right foot on dot number one and your left foot on dot number two. Cross your legs so your right foot is on dot number two and your left foot is on dot number one. Return to the start position and repeat.
Forty Three Thirty Five (above)- Start with your right foot on dot number four and your left foot on dot number three. Move so your right foot is on dot number three and your left foot is on dot number five. Return and repeat.
HAND SPEED AND REACTION
Quickness means nothing without adequate reactionary skill. Since most interaction that utilizes the hands involves reactionary timing, I try to combine the two skills during training.
Stand face to face with your partner. You both need to assume an athletic stance but with your hands on your thighs about where gun holsters would be. Your partner should rapidly lift a hand to about navel height with the palm down. The hand should remain for a split second (very minimal time) before returning to the side. React to your partner and try to tap the back of his/her hand with your finger tips. Decide beforehand whether you are going to mirror or reach across your body to tap the hand. Have your partner randomly feed you sides. Training note: Stay relaxed and do not try to aggressively smack your partner’s hand.
Stand face to face with your partner. You both need to assume an athletic stance but with your hands at navel height. Your partner should start with his palms facing up. Place your hands palms down about one inch above his hands. The partner is the feeder during this drill. The partner should try to quickly flip his hands and tap the back of your hands with his fingers. Your goal is to remove your hands before he can accomplish this goal. After several attempts, switch roles. Training note: Stay relaxed and do not try to aggressively smack your partner’s hand.
A Z-Ball (sometimes called a reaction ball) is a strangely shaped ball with several protrusions coming out of it. This ball is designed to bounce unpredictably when thrown, which makes it great for developing hand speed and reactionary timing. To perform these drills, stand in an athletic stance about five feet away from a wall. Shuffle side to side over a five to 10 yard area. Toss the ball under handed against the wall as you are shuffling. Catch the ball with the same hand you used to throw it. Make sure you alternate hands throughout the drill. Throwing the ball harder will make the drill more difficult. If you miss the ball, get to it as quickly as possible.
Find or create two lines that form an X. Use this X for all of these drills. All X drills should be performed utilizing an athletic stance. Remember to keep your head up and your upper body loose. Staying relaxed will conserve energy and promote quickness.
Front to Back (above) - Assume an athletic position centered on the center of the X. Your feet should reside off the lines with the upper V of the X in front of you and the lower V of the X behind you. Simultaneously move both feet forward across the top part of the X so both feet reside inside the upper V. Return to the start position. As with all of these drills, do not squeak your shoes on the floor. Keep the floor contact short and aggressive. Do not allow your shoes to squeak on the floor (this means you are increasing contact time and not efficiently applying force to the ground).
Side to Side (above)- Start in an athletic stance about 12 to 18 inches away from the center of the X while straddling one leg of the X. Move both feet laterally simultaneously so you are straddling the other leg of the X. Return to the start position.
Linear Scissors (above)- Assume an athletic position centered on the center of the X. Your feet should reside off the lines with the upper V of the X in front of you and the lower V of the X behind you. Simultaneously move your feet so that one foot stops in the upper V and the other stops in the lower V. Return to start position. Now move your feet so the opposite foot moves forward and the other back.
Lateral Scissors (above)- Start with both feet inline with the center of the X but to the side. Simultaneously move your feet so that one foot stops in the upper V and the other stops in the lower V. Return to start position. Now move your feet so the opposite foot moves forward and the other back. Perform the drill starting on the opposite side of the X for the next set. If there is a third set, perform it on the weaker of the two sides.
S2S F2B (above)- Start by straddling one leg of the X (face the center of the X). Move up and across the intersecting line. Than quickly move laterally so both feet reside beside the starting line. Move back laterally so you are straddling the line again. Finally, move backward to the starting position and repeat the pattern. Perform the drill starting on the opposite side of the X for the next set. If there is a third set, perform it on the weaker of the two sides.