In this article, I’ll discuss three errors and three corrections you likely need to make. You might be making more than three errors when attempting to make speedy turns, but I’ll highlight the three most common ones.
Mistake 1: Upright body on the approach
First up is your approach. Far too many athletes approach the turn with poor posture. Their hips are high and their body is almost straight.
On approach, it’s important to get down into a low position with your hips back and center of mass low. This reduces your chance of falling over and losing your balance on the turn, and it also reduces the distance over which you have to decelerate.
So remember, when coming into your turn, keep your hips back, knees bent and body low. This will give you the best chance of coming out of the turn faster than your opponent.
Mistake 2: Failing to place your foot firmly on the ground
Just before the turn, you place one foot on the ground, and athletes often do this weakly. They focus on putting weight through the ball of their foot rather than the whole foot. This reduces stability on the standing leg and increases your chance of injury. If you place your foot down weakly, you’re more likely to roll your ankle.
Instead, focus on creating a “wedge” with your standing or lead foot. When you place it on the ground, do so strongly, placing the whole foot flat on the ground and activating the muscles in the leg to give you the stability you need to make a sharp change of direction.
Remember the wedge step and strong standing leg when you go to place your foot down to turn.
Mistake 3: Driving out of the turn with the wrong leg
You’ve approached well and placed your foot down firmly. Now it’s time to execute the turn. Here, a lot of athletes use their trailing leg (the one not used for the wedge step) to accelerate out of the turn. This is fine for a short distance, but if you want to turn and open yourself up over a long distance, you need to be more specific with your technique.
Instead of using your trailing leg, use your planted leg. Open up your hips in the direction you want to go, bring your planted leg up and over your hips and forcefully accelerate out of the turn using that same leg.
So, last point, open up your hips and bring your stance leg across. That’s the best technique to get you out of a turn as fast as possible.