Develop Lightning-Quick Reactive Speed With Matt Zash | STACK

Develop Lightning-Quick Reactive Speed With Matt Zash

June 10, 2011

MLL star Matt Zash didn’t help the Philadelphia Barrage win back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007 by being a slug on the field. He helped by developing outstanding reactive change of direction speed, with the assistance of Revolution Athletics strength and conditioning coach Justin Kull.

Zash’s reactive speed workout consists of three exercises: Shuffles, Side Runs and Sprints. Try them out to enhance your reactive capabilities.


“We’re looking for a good low center of gravity,” says Kull. “The chest is up, the back is straight, the weight is on the inside leg when he’s planting, and his feet are shoulder-width apart.”

Zash performs this exercise on the balls of his feet, with his toes pointing straight ahead, and in what Kull calls an “uncontrolled environment." This means that Zash can only change direction at Kull’s command. He could shuffle anywhere between two to 15 yards before having to change direction. The sudden change in direction prepares him to react quickly when covering a man on the field.

Side Running

While performing Side Running [running laterally], Zash keeps his hips square, feet pointing straight ahead and weight on his inside leg. This exercise helps him stay in front of his opponent when the opponent makes a hard cut toward the crease. Again, he responds to his coach’s signal to change direction.


The same posture rules govern this sprint set: feet straight, hips squared. Zash changes direction at his coach's command, but now he has to rotate his hips to do so. This comes into play during a lacrosse game when there’s a turnover and he has to hustle back to defend the goal.


Kull combines all three exercises into the final set: Shuffles, Side Runs and Sprints. Zash changes direction and exercise based on Kull’s commands. They also used Med Ball Wall Throws as “active rest” between sets.

Use this reactive speed circuit to improve your ability to stay in front of your opponent and react to any play on the field. Prove your lightening-quick speed and get ready to greet college recruiters.

Watch Zash go at it in the video above.

Matt Zash Reactive Change of Direction

  • React to coach’s command by quickly planting and changing direction
  • Keep hips low, chest up, back straight and maintain a solid base for each exercise
  • When planting and cutting, keep feet shoulder-width apart with weight over inside leg
  • Perform Shuffle on balls of feet with toes straight ahead
  • Perform Side Running with hips square and feet straight ahead
  • Perform Sprinting by rotating hips in the direction of coach’s command
  • Perform Med Ball Wall Throws between sets to develop upper body strength

Sets/Reps: 3-4/30 seconds


Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

Exercise of the Week: Roll Over Stomps to Floor

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Get Faster With 3 Essential Speed Training Strategies

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

Attack the Goal Like Paul Rabil

Paul Rabil's Tips for Better Shooting Accuracy

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

Paul Rabil: Refining Perfection

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Pyramids: A Sprint Workout for the Strong

Step Counting: How Big Men Can Run a Faster 40

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sprint Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Soccer Players: Get Faster with the Montreal Impact Workout

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints