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Speed & Agility Drills


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#1 Texas_D_Coach

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Posted 03 May 2009 - 09:13 AM

As I have written in other posts my team this spring does not have alot of speed. I am looking for drills and conditioning tips that other coaches use to improve your players speed and agility.

So far I have done just basic jogging, end of practice sprints with the kids to condition them (since most of our time has been spent on learning plays and defensive responsiblities). Do you coaches put an emphasis on conditioning and if so how much?

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#2 Vegas Coach

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:28 AM

I like to get our kids running and some conditioning in, I feel its VERY important for the game itself and their health as a whole. We mix it up from practice to practice, but here are a few things we do to help with the conditioning..... sprints, suicide line runs, bear crawls (this is a great exercise), up downs, agility box and I also have an agility ladder which we bring out to work on footwork. These exercises will get your kids working. We dont do all those in one practice, we pick a couple and do them, then change it up every practice to keep things fresh. Another thing we do as well that I feel keeps their hearts going is... when we break into doing individual drills, we RUN through them quick. We are keeping things moving right along, this keeps the kids focused (no time to play in line while waiting), it also helps their conditioning! This helps us as coaches because we're able to fit more drills and more scrimmage time in by not spending a lot of time messing around at a slow pace on drills! The tempo is set high! I am sweating, thats how fast we like to keep it going.

Finally after scrimmage time, we play a game (I'm sure you all know it) called king of the ring or shark and minnows. The kids LOVE this game so much. One player in the middle, while all other kids line up at the GL and on the whistle try to make it across the to midfield without getting their flag pulled. Once your flag is pulled you now are in the middle to chase the other players. Last player standing wins! We play this game at the end at least twice and let me tell you, the kids are running and running hard in this game! Great conditioning here. They love it so much and it gets them competing. They are exhausted after we're done. All this, I have found to help immensely. Our kids don't gas out the last 10 minutes of ball games, they are still swarming just like the beginning!

#3 Texas_D_Coach

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:01 PM

I like to get our kids running and some conditioning in, I feel its VERY important for the game itself and their health as a whole. We mix it up from practice to practice, but here are a few things we do to help with the conditioning..... sprints, suicide line runs, bear crawls (this is a great exercise), up downs, agility box and I also have an agility ladder which we bring out to work on footwork. These exercises will get your kids working. We dont do all those in one practice, we pick a couple and do them, then change it up every practice to keep things fresh. Another thing we do as well that I feel keeps their hearts going is... when we break into doing individual drills, we RUN through them quick. We are keeping things moving right along, this keeps the kids focused (no time to play in line while waiting), it also helps their conditioning! This helps us as coaches because we're able to fit more drills and more scrimmage time in by not spending a lot of time messing around at a slow pace on drills! The tempo is set high! I am sweating, thats how fast we like to keep it going.

Finally after scrimmage time, we play a game (I'm sure you all know it) called king of the ring or shark and minnows. The kids LOVE this game so much. One player in the middle, while all other kids line up at the GL and on the whistle try to make it across the to midfield without getting their flag pulled. Once your flag is pulled you now are in the middle to chase the other players. Last player standing wins! We play this game at the end at least twice and let me tell you, the kids are running and running hard in this game! Great conditioning here. They love it so much and it gets them competing. They are exhausted after we're done. All this, I have found to help immensely. Our kids don't gas out the last 10 minutes of ball games, they are still swarming just like the beginning!

Thanks Vegas. Those are great ideas.

#4 rushbuster70

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 02:58 PM

Well i've modeled my practice after my favorite coach (pete carrol) and my old high school team i played at...So basically we keep things fun/energetic while competing and getting conditioned at the same time.

Our practice are about 1 hour & 15 mins and this is for older 11-13 year olds.We get so much done though because we keep it on the go.We let them bring water to there drills so we dont have to waste time on a water break.We go through 3-4 drills plus scrimmage time.We keep it going like Vegas coach.We will stop practice though if they aren't on the ball and will run a few sprints but we usually never run sprints because of keeping the drills fun and conditioning at the same time.
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#5 Johnp2

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:22 PM

Texas D---I am probably in a minority here, but I don't think speed can be taught much at this age. In other words, some kids are faster than others, and that is pretty much how it is. We do coach how to run (with or without the football), but I've yet to see any drills that will help with speed. Again, that is just my opinion.

I stress two things. Hustle, and vision.

By hustle, I'm very much an advocate of every player going full speed on every play. My players know I will call them out if I don't see them getting after it. More importantly, I am very quick to commend player whom I see giving it everything they have---regardless of the play's outcome. I always have my "hustle play" of the game, and I make a big production of it during the next practice, by explaining who it was and what they did.

Additionally, I teach timing. By that, most of our plays are designed so that none of the players have to "wait" for things to happen. In other words, once the play begins, I coach them to never to pause, and instead to trust their teammates that the ball will be exactly where it needs to be at that split second. A lot of times there are so many things happening on a given play, kids will wait to see what they recognize before taking off. I stress going full-throttle as most of my plays require all players to go as fast as they can to properly adhere to the play's timing.

While speed (IMO) cannot be taught----VISION can. I challenge the players to think ahead when they have the ball in their hands. Many players use the sideline as a crutch, so I run a lot of drills where the player must cut back against the grain and find those all important seams. I ask them to know what they are going to do, and where they are going to go, before executing doing and going. :-) On any given play there is a seam, and it really helps in my opinion to teach the players to find that seam----as opposed with just running. Surprisingly, I've found this to be something the kids can easily pick up on when it's clearly explained. I ask them to think in terms of "levels". In other words, find the the initial hole and then look down field and KNOW where they are going to run next. I'd suggest coaching them to be cognizant of where they are going when they have the ball.

Defensively, I stress angles. Again it goes back to knowing where you want to be ahead of time and figuring out the best route to get there---as opposed with just "chasing" the ball-carrier.

Finally, with respect to conditioning---frankly we don't do much of it. Ironically, this is the first season I've had an "out of shape" player. Perhaps I have been blessed to have well-conditioned kids, but I've rarely seen players (in practice or in a game) who ran out of gas. We are here in Texas, and most of our games/practices will be in the 100's, so I do stress keeping hydrated.

I'm also of the mindset that I feel conditioning begins at home. In other words, I expect my players to show up in good shape and focus primarily on how to properly allocate all that energy they have. I personally don't feel it is my job to condition the players (again--I know I am in a minority), but instead my time with them is spent coaching them on how to play football.

I'm not sure how I will work with this one player I have who is out of shape. He's a heavy-set kid---and frankly does not like to hustle. I don't see a point in wasting practice time with conditioning drills if he is the only player who needs it. Certainly I also don't want to call him out and make him work on conditioning drills by himself. I think I'll encourage him to keep up with the rest of the team, and keep an eye on him to ensure he is in a position to placed in situations to perform at his best (i.e. I have a feeling I will sub him in and out more than the other players).

Thanks!

#6 Coach Fun

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:41 PM

Interesting article which focuses on biometrics for youth training linked off the y-coach home page. Doesn't say when to start, but the website link for the program says 6-18.

http://www.y-coach.com/speedtrain.html

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