Soccer is a game that’s played in multiple directions, yet players often forget to focus on their lateral speed. Big mistake.
“You can get caught up in doing too much that’s just straight ahead,” says David Tenney, fitness coach for the Kansas City Wizards. Since players need to be able to move quickly in all directions, Tenney says, “doing different exercises where [you’re] going from a lateral movement to a sprint is very important.”
To improve their lateral quickness as well as their passing skills, thus simulating game situations, the Wizards incorporate the Lateral Ladder drill in their workout routine.
Lateral Ladder Drill [View Diagram]
• Lay out 12-yard speed ladder, and set up two cones 12 yards from ladder [see diagram]
• Players 2 and 3 stand at cones, while you start with ball at end of ladder
• Pass ball to Player 2, then laterally shuffle through ladder
• When you are out of ladder, Player 2 passes ball back to you
• Receive ball and quickly pass to Player 3
• Player 3 receives ball and quickly passes to start of ladder
• Rotate through drill clockwise, and perform four times
Coaching Points: Keep body lateral // Keep hips facing other players and play ball forward to them // Drive arms through the drill // Make quick one-touch passes to other players // Run from cone to cone // Use other lateral movements to increase difficulty