By: Steve Yahns, MS, CSCS, NASM-PES Assistant Director of Performance, Lead Methodology Educator Spectrum Sports Performance
"How to" Develop Explosive Agility, Part 3: Cutting Angles
An athlete needs to be able to (in an instant) run in any necessary direction. For this drill, focus pushing off the outside leg before sprinting, and try this in several different angles in mind, such as a 0 degree cut (straight ahead), a 45, 90, 135, and 180 degree cuts. Perfecting this allows the athlete the ability to push in any direction quickly and aggressively. Once again, don’t forget to use your arms!!! If you are pushing with the outside foot, throw the inside arm back and drive the inside foot up to strike the ground while running. Remember………anger……!!!
Have you seen the Split Step Coach? We should get together sometime as your Explosive Agility drill can train what we call 'sensory-motor' skills as well. The device allows many different types of movements in the 8 directions you have indicated; they can be OPEN or CLOSED, Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced and you can even encode the movements so that the athlete can learn to side step or turn and run at Random times. Checkout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoulGXrz0kw
Part 3 is interesting, but we see few advanced athletes use this movement. The amount of force one can develop with the right foot is small compared to doing a split step and landing on the Left foot with both the Impulse Force (due to the hop) and the stretch-shortening force of the ankle, knee and hip. All advanced athletes in most sports do what is called in tennis the split step, in baseball the pre-hop. This white paper describes the ideas behind this movement.
View the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoulGXrz0kw for more information or visit the YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bikervic1&aq=f for several different sports.
Couldn't agree more, Vic. You are right on, rarely are we moving out of a stable base position. Usually our movements are on the move and strung together in a random environment. I believe it is important to teach the individual movements first, i.e out of stable, controlled position, and then as they become more advanced, have them move and cut on the move, on the run, or using a split step approach as you stated. Basically every movement should involve the stretch-shortening cycle, as really every explosive movement is plyometric in nature, so once again, I totally agree. These early blog entries are designed to build an arsenal of explosive movements that the athlete can use during game situations, and most importantly, we want these movements to become new 'motor patterns', so they don't have to think, and can just react.