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Reactive Non-Linear Acceleration Drills

30 Dec

Other than track and field events are there any sports that involve acceleration in only one direction? If you use your brain for a half a second you’ll realize the answer is no. So why do so many of us train our athletes to accelerate and react like sprinters? Sure good acceleration mechanics are universal but acceleration in the field of play is multi-directional, chaotic and reactive and should be trained in such a manner.

Dave Rak and I threw together an advanced ball drop drill this past week to work on multi-directional acceleration and reactivity. For those of you who don’t know what a traditional ball drop drill is, here is a video explaining it.

This is a great example of a basic acceleration drill to teach good acceleration mechanics. After this drill has been mastered though, it has limited carry over to sport.  We need to be able to accelerate while changing directions and react to the flow of the game around us. To advance this drill Dave and I combined the Lateral Shuffle or 1-2 Stick Drill and the Traditional Ball Drop Drill. This involves a quick lateral shuffle around a set of cones immediately followed by a linear ball drop. Performing the drill in this manner allows for a change of direction component. To further advance the drill Dave and I no longer dropped the ball straight ahead. We began tossing the ball in various directions to force the athlete performing this drill to react to the ball and accelerate in multiple planes. Check out the video below.

Remember this is a more advanced acceleration drill. Basic starting and sprinting mechanics should be taught before incorporating this drill. The progression should be as follows: linear acceleration > multi-directional acceleration >reactive multi-directional acceleration.

Smitty from The Diesel Crew has a really cool progression for reactivity that I got to try out first hand at one of his seminars. Smitty has his athletes perform ball drop drills to train both audible and visual reactivity . I really liked these drills. You can check them out in the video below.