PT on the Net Research

Line Drills - Part 1


Before looking at the use of lines in group exercise and training (GET), two distinctions should be made. A "file" has participants lined up behind each other (e.g., Indian File), whereas a "rank" has participants standing side by side next to one another. Furthermore, these files/ranks can be either "stationary/static" or "moving/mobile." Static file/rank drills have the file or rank always returning to a pre-marked area, whereas mobile line/rank drills are dynamic and as such have no set area.

Power Ups

Power ups are a means of increasing the participants' work load, be it skill based or metabolic. Several examples have been provided below with most being adaptable to the GET session ideas provided, either individually or in combination with one another.

Way Stations - Figure 1

Figure 1. Way station example for a varying distance sprint drill. Cones can be used to increase distance of travel.

Active Files - Figure 2

Figure 2. Active files example applied to a simple sprint drill. While in file, the participants can still be active (as seen above).

Return Activities - Figure 3

Figure 3. An example of two return activities applied to a traditional basketball drill. Conditioning exercises can be used as a "return activity" to increase the athlete's workload.

Basketball Drill (with conditioning)

Static Line Drills

Basic Relay Sprint - Figure 4

Figure 4. Basic relay sprint drill with a wide turning arc to decrease trip hazards and ankle strain.

Simple Sports Drill - Figure 5a

Figure 5a. A simple relay pattern for soccer.

Simple Soccer Drill: Dribble and Pass

Complex Sports Drill - Figure 5b

Figure 5b. A more complex multi layer relay pattern for soccer.

Complex Soccer Drills: Short and long pass run

  1. Start Player runs to the closest cones and passes the ball back to the next in line.
  2. After the pass, they run immediately to the far cone.
  3. The next player in line receives the short pass and chips the ball to the far cone. On passing, this player runs to the closest cone.
  4. The player at the far cone receives the long kick and passes the ball on the ground to the player at the closest cone... who then passes the ball back to the next player in line.
  5. On passing the ball, each player moves forward to the next cone, and the player at the farthest cone runs back to the line.

Expansions - Figure 6

Figure 6. A simple relay pattern with a conditioning drill expansion.

To increase intensity, especially with larger teams, a secondary drill/event can be added. Every time a new runner leaves, the remainder of the group must run out to the side markers (and perform two push-ups).

Electronic Tag - Figure 7

Figure 7. An example of an "electronic tag" variation for a sprint relay.

If there are concerns about turning or a simple straight through profile is preferred (e.g., swimming pool), an "electronic tag" system can be used. The first swimmer swims to the other side... on reaching it, he raises his hand and the next swimmer starts. When the last swimmer reaches the wall, the first swimmer begins again.

Add-on, Drop-off Aerobic Endurance Relay - Figure 8

Figure 8. An example of an "add on" and "drop off" aerobic endurance relay.

The above interval session can be used to increase a runner's training stimulus.

  1. The first runner runs out around the cones... on return, he links with the next runner and they both complete a lap.
  2. On return, the first runner can drop off while the second runner picks up the third runner (= two laps each) OR
  3. The runners stay in the group until all runners in the file are running... then the runners drop off with the first runner dropping off and then the second.

Multi-Distance Variation - Figure 9

Figure 9. An example of a multi distance variation for a sprint relay.

A progression or regression system can be used where several turn around points are designated (see Figure 9 above).

Multi-File Variation - Figure 10

Figure 10. An example of a multi distance and multi file variation for a relay with an "active file" power up.

A multi-file session could incorporate either altering distances and/or activities.

Facing Fire Drills

Facing Drills for Australian Rules Football - Figures 11a-11c

Drill: 100m Distance

Figure 11a

Drill: 15m Distance

Figure 11b

Drill: 25m and 15m Distance Pass

Figure 11c

Converging Fire Drills

Baseball Drill - Figure 12

Figure 12. A converging file drill for baseball or softball.
  1. Pitcher: Pitches to batter.
  2. Batter: Hits ground ball toward File A or B (whichever file has a player on the plate)... in this case, File B. Then the batter runs to the rear of the opposing file.
    • File B: Player runs from plate to retrieve ball and throws ball to player running onto the plate in the opposing file (File A)... then he either runs to the rear of the opposite file or becomes the batter.
    • File A: If the ball is hit to File B, player in File A runs to the plate to receive the throw onto the plate from the player retrieving the ball. Once the ball is caught, it is given to the pitcher and everyone prepares to intercept the next batter.

*The role between left and right files alternates with each pitch.

Baton Sprint - Figure 13

Figure 13. A beach carnival style "flag" race for converging files.

File A vs File B sprint to the single cone. The first to touch is the winner. The loser has to do 10 push ups. This drill can be done as a beach style "flags" game or with a tennis ball in the water.

In-Place Fire Drills

Conditioning Drill: Front to Rear - Figure 14a

Figure 14a. An "in place" file conditioning drill where the front person moves to the rear.

Each person on the team is given an exercise. As that person comes to the front, the team completes 10 repetitions of that exercise. Once that exercise is complete, the leader moves to the rear, the rest of the team shuffles forward and the next exercise starts.

Conditioning Drill: Rear to Front- Figure 14b

The front person passes the medicine ball around to his left to be taken by the person behind...who passes the ball round to his right. The ball is alternated through to the rear where the last person runs to the front with the ball. The rest of the team shuffles back, and the process begins again.

Figure 14b. An "in place" file conditioning drill where the last person moves to the front.

Coming next: mobile file and rank drills!