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Turn and Sprint Performance

April 9, 2013

Lets think about what tennis, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, etc. etc. all have in common: the ability to change directions and accelerate is incredibly important for success.  Being able to move linearly is great, but how long will you be side shuffling for in any given sport: 3, 4, maybe 5 yards max?  The athlete who can most efficiently change directions and accelerate is the one who will steal the base, get to the soccer ball, or defend an in route.

There are several drills that can be used to train this skill.  First, the athlete has to be able to accelerate efficiently.  For more information on training acceleration, see our article on resisted sprinting.

Next, the athlete should master the cross over step sprint.  The cross over step involves getting into an athletic stance, driving off the outside leg with a lateral move to initiate the momentum, then bringing the outside leg around high and driving it into the ground with falling sprint mechanics.  Jason Cholewa demonstrates below:

We can next use ground starts to train the crossover step sprint.  A simple and effective example is the side bridge ground start.  Have the athlete begin in a side bridge with his/her head facing the direction he is to run.  Bring the top leg around and plant the foot equal to the bottom knee.  Drive off the planted foot to create momentum, bringing yourself into the 45 degree drive phase position and continue to accelerate for 5-10 m (demonstrated below by Jason Cholewa)

A second ground start that can be performed to increase 90 degree turn and accelerate performance is the 90 degree half kneeling split squat ground start.  Have the athlete start with the inside knee up and the outside leg on the ground.  Forcefully drive off the forward foot, cycling the legs in the air and landing such that the outside leg is now in front.  Once ground contact is made drive forward for 5-10 m.

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From → Speed Training

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