Getting That First Step

Some of the questions that are forwarded to me, and I am very grateful for the visit to my website, are usually along the same theme: what drills can I do to increase my speed?

Or I am fairly fast but I really need to increase my first step quickness, do you have any suggestions?

The answers to both are, in fact, fairly similar. In that, you need to both produce force and absorb force maximally in order to create power to get faster.

Of course, good mechanics and good mobility of the hips,ankles,shoulders and thoracic spine are very helpful as well.

However, you can be fast without necessarily having a good first step and vice versa.

For example, I have seen football players that have good speed, such as defensive backs but their lack of first step quickness and reaction to a play might be the difference in a wide receiver blowing by them and costing the team a score.

On the other hand, I have also seen soccer players with very good first step quicknes and reaction but just do not have that acceleration necessary to be dominant.

So, for this issue let me address the first step quickness area.

1. You need to be able to absorb shock from the ground first. Landing softly,forcefully and correctly (landing and absorbing your body wt. onto your quads not knees) will make your transition to force production an easier and effective one.

In other words, you will move more explosively with your first step and then into a sprint.

2. Basic Drills to do for force absorption (deceleration) for first step quickness:

A. Stand on right leg and lift bent left leg even with your belly button. Keep left position and fall forward into a lunge. Absorb wt.onto left quad,keep trunk straight and hold for 5 seconds. Ground contact time from the bent left leg in up position to a lunge hold should be less than 1 second. Repeat 3 times each leg.

B. Next do the same drill but have someone LIGHTLY push youfrom behind on the hips. You will immediately notice that you have to react fast to landing correctly. Do same as above

C. After you can perform those drillsperfectly, you may try a line touch drill.

Find any line on a track,court or use duct tape (about a foot long) and place it on ground.

Stand in an athletic stance and imediately tap your right foot over the line softly and very quickly for 15 seconds. Count your touches and do again. Try to beat your first score.

Repeat other leg. Make sure you are in control.

Do the same drill laterally.

Other excellent drills include: Dot Drill Mat exercises, x jumps and ball drops from partner.

D.Ball Drops- Have partner stand 5 yds. from you. You are in either a high pushup,low pushup,on stomach or on all fours position. As soon as ball drops immediately spring up and sprint toward ball. Do 2 sprints from each position. Good form

E.X jumps- For the X jump, pretend there is an X on the ground in front of you and your feet are on each end nearest you. Very quickly rotate hips so that your feet turn in towards middle of X. do very small but quick movemnts with arms close to your side but moving opposite direction of hips. Do 10 seconds and then immediately sprint 5 to 10yds.

All these drills should be performed after your warmups at least 4 times a week. Do 2 sets of 5-6 reps. Rest about 2-3 minutes in between sets.

For more information on this topic please contact me and for detailed help, please consider a 30 minute coaching call.

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