Improving skills as a soccer player largely involves being able to take quick and decisive control over the ball. Coaches are often striving to improve their players’ confidence because the more confident they feel when they have the ball in their feet, the better they’ll be at getting around the opposition and knowing when to release the ball to another teammate.
Speedy footwork and coordination go hand-in-hand when it comes to being a better soccer player. The more you work on these elements, the better you’ll feel about using your skills on the pitch.
Great agility ladder drills to bring out players’ potential are one of the best techniques that soccer players use to improve their skills. There are tons of agility ladder drills available which can make it difficult to know where to start.
This post covers the top drills that you can start introducing to your players to boost their skills and confidence.
Side steps are one of the most common types of agility ladder exercises that you’ve probably seen being performed. It involves you putting both of your feet in both rings before you move on.
However, the key with this exercise is to be standing sideways so that you’re moving up the ladder at a sideways angle. Be sure to focus on moving your arms and legs in sync as you move up. This is something that will help with your balance and overall coordination.
Start by going up the ladder facing sideways before going back down it with your opposite foot leading instead.
1-Step & 2 -Step
The one-step and two-step exercise is another one that you may have seen being performed. The one-step exercise is simple and involves putting one foot in a ring and changing between them as you move up the ladder.
Be sure not to be taking large strides while doing this exercise. Instead, focus on being speedy and lifting your feet off the ground just enough to clear the ring. At the start, you may need to take things a little slow and make sure that you’re getting the technique right. You can increase the speed once you feel more confident about your coordination.
The two-step exercise is performed in the same way as the one-step exercise, however, you put both feet in each ring before moving up the ladder.
Jumping jacks are excellent for improving your coordination, strength, and balance. This exercise involves you starting with both of your feet inside one ring. You then jump forward and land with both of your feet on the outside of the ring.
After this, you jump into the ring in front of you and make sure that both of your feet land inside the ring. Continue this all the way up the ladder while also swinging your arms upwards over your head with each jump.
When it comes to hopping, start by hopping forwards into the ring in front of you while making sure that you’re always using the same foot. Do this up the ladder and then come back down. When you come back down the ladder, switch the leg that you’re hopping on.
This exercise is effective for improving your strength and balance. If you find that hopping is too basic or easy, you could add little variations, such as hopping sideways through the rings.
Shuffling is where these exercises get a little more complex and they require more focus as you need to master your coordination for these.
Begin by standing to one side of the ladder and proceed to move in and out at a diagonal angle through the ladder. Start from the right side and shuffle yourself to the left side while ensuring that both of your feet remain in the same ring.
Once you’ve shuffled from right to left, you want to put your feet outside of the ring quickly and use it to push yourself and place your foot in the ring that’s ahead of you. You can then bring your opposite foot up into the same ring.
Continue this movement all the way up the ladder. If you’re having a hard time completing this exercise, be sure to start at a slow pace. You can then gradually increase the pace as you go along.
When you’re more confident with performing the shuffle this way, you can progress to doing it backward. This exercise works in the same way as described above, however, you simply move backward instead.
Keep one foot on the outside of the rings while you use the other one to go in and out of the rings as you move backward. Make sure that your foot is quickly touching the inside of the rings and tapping out again before you progress onto the next one.
When one of your feet is tapping in and out of the rings, be sure that your other foot moves in a straight line with it and is moving at the same pace. Also, make sure to alternate which foot taps in and out and which foot stays on the outside.
The crossover exercise is great for improving your coordination on the pitch during times where your feet cross over.
Start by standing sideways and put one foot in one ring while crossing over your other foot and placing it in the ring ahead. Do this exercise with one foot leading up the ladder and then switch so that your other foot is leading on the way back down.
Now that you know more about what some of the best agility ladder drills have to offer, you can start implementing them into your training routines. These exercises are superb for improving speed, coordination, balance, and strength.
Soccer players can boost their confidence on the ball by having better coordination and balance and using agility ladders is a fantastic way to achieve that. Hopefully, you can introduce these exercises and start noticing how your players benefit while playing against opponents.