Deceleration is an extraordinarily important, and often overlooked, concept when it comes to any sport that involves starting, stopping and changing direction. Frequently there is a misaligned emphasis placed solely upon acceleration. While the ability to gain speed is very important, unless you are sprinter simply running straight ahead- there are other factors that must be taken into consideration.
The concept is simple. The better we slow ourselves down, the more efficiently we can stop and be in a better position to change direction. Athletically, this is a very trainable attribute. The ability to decelerate involves overcoming inertia. The faster the athlete is moving the more difficult it is. Deceleration on the field primarily requires changes in athletes’ center of gravity, strong relative strength to weight ratios, and aligning the body in the correct angles to move into the next position. And of course, practice.
It is important to understand that this drill is not designed to mimic an exact position in sport, but rather as a conceptual model and body awareness drill that transfers over to the sporting movements.
- Set 2 cones up approximately 5-10 yards apart.
- Lateral shuffle between the 2 cones remembering to keep the toes straight ahead, and feet parallel to one another.
- When you get to each side, “throw” both feet outside of your hips so that your body angle is 45-60 degrees to the ground (the toes should still be straight ahead, and the feet parallel to one another).
- Upon contact, immediately push off with both feet explosively, and continue with a lateral shuffle to the next cone. If done correctly you should pop right out of the hole.
Remember that we are working on receiving force which is critical when it comes to changing direction efficiently. As you gain more confidence in the drill attempt to increase your speed moving into the edges, and try to jump into and off of the corner.
I would recommend going back and forth for 5 touches on each side. Rest about a minute and repeat for a total of 5 sets.