Deceleration Training-Easy Exercises to Implement

Hi all,

I would like to share on article that I wrote three years ago and I still find it a crucial area of fundamental development for speed training at all levels.


Training for deceleration or the stopping movement in a sport, is a crucial component that needs to be addressed as early as possible in an athletes' career. Athletic movements such as these include: the landing phase of a jump, a linear sprint then sudden stop and then linear sprint again, a quick, stop and start angled or reverse direction run or even checking a swing in baseball requires a quick and powerful "braking" movement.

For this article, I will briefly go over some simple decelerating drills that NEEDS to be implemented at the youth level. Yes, kids eventually have to be taught sprint mechanics and acceleration drills, however, in a game situation, it is more important to learn HOW to stop your movement correctly and THEN transition smoothly into acceleration.

Why? Because if you cannot stop your movement well:

1. Chances are you may be more susceptible to an injury such as an ankle sprain or more severe one like a torn ACL.

2. You are really limiting yourself as a one dimensional athlete. Example: you may FAST but you have no AGILITY.

As you can see, it can really inhibit your athleticism.

Easy drills to teach at the youth level or to an older inexperienced athlete is the Drop Jump and the hop and hold.

For the Drop Jump, have athlete stand on a small box or bench (preferably about 6 inches high) then drop not jump off and land low and soft into your quads. Make sure feet are together and not one forward one back. Knees should not be touching each other. This is called a valgus knee position which is the inward turning of the knee.

An athlete that has a valgus upon landing may have a higher preponderance of an injury due to the inward torque on the knee ligaments. Thus in a game situation, this type of load on the knee from a force absorption (deceleration) standpoint could be devastating.

Can you say possible ACL tear?

To rectify this, simply put a resistance band around the knees to align the hips to further prevent the inward rotation of the weak hip.

Primarily, you should be in an athletic stance position when you land. Hold for a second or two.

For the hop and hold, the athlete is now standing on one foot and proceeds to hop up and forward. Next land low and soft. Absorb your weight into your thigh and hold for a second or two.

These drills may be performed for 1-2 sets to begin with and work in the 6-8 rep range. Proceed for approximately a month or until form is perfect.

Coach Ford CSCS

IYCA Speed and Agility Specialist

PS for those Football players out there, check out Coach Carlisle's Total Football Training DVD. A very good DVD.

Check out link below

Total Football Training DVD

Complete Speed Training DVD

North/South Football DVD

Developing Young Athletes

Resisted Sled with Olympic Weights

Resistor Bands

Sports Speed Products