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October 2012

October 2012

The Speed Report - Combination Movement Skill Drills FOR THE SECONDARY

by: Dale Baskett
Football Speed Specialist
© October 2012

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What do I mean by combination movement skill drills? Combining position speed skill movements that you might do as one activity only – such as backpedaling – into two or three types of movement changes in the same drill. You will wind up incorporating several skills needed into a non-stop high-intensity and kinetic learning experience.

Obviously, an athlete in the secondary must be adept at multi-movement skills, which are why they are practiced so frequently. My idea of doing the combined movements is to learn to execute the speed aspects effectively during many activities and not just one. Transitions will take place when athletes change from one phase of movement or speed to another phase. Running and reversing directions, for example, on a W drill is fine. However, it can become routine. The side effects of routine changes always create complacency on drills such as the Wave Drill. What I think could be better is if you combine the backpedal and the W together in one continuous motion, changing from one to the other. The familiarization of specific position skill movements have value but, it all should boil down to movement effectiveness, not routine single activity movements in continuous repetition. My viewpoint has always been concerned with effective technical execution for speed production.

Benefits of Combination Skill Drilling

Combining drill movements takes the athletes to a new dimension of focus, concentration and execution. When a drill is used over and over, you lose the challenge factor. A drill must include a challenge to continuously improve the athlete.

An additional benefit of combination movement drilling is that you can save time during practice and get more covered. Athletes in the secondary must be able to see and move rapidly in many directions with efficiency. This requires multi-change movement skills. Another reason for combination phases is that they emulate secondary drill multi-movements. As a coach, you will not have to do as many reps as you would if you did not combine multiple phases. For example, let’s say your secondary is practicing a drill that includes backpedaling, lateral movements, bursting to a sprint, decelerating and then bursting again.

•  Backpedal
•  Lateral
•  Burst Sprint
•  Decelerate Sprint
•   Burst Sprint

All in all, they’ve just completed five movement phases and at a high rate of intense speed which should only be applied once they are sound.

Rubber Meets the Road

Athletes are trained to be efficient and effective. As indicated earlier, their movements need to be sound. You must get them to the point where they are skillful enough with the combo drills to attack them with intensity.

The only way this aspect will be fulfilled successfully is if you take time to monitor the velocity of the performance during practices. They must go slow enough to control the changes and angles that are provided. What you will realize is that it doesn’t take much time with combination work for them to get a grip on controlling movement.

Make sure you keep the learning curve in line with the speed that’s being applied. You can’t go too fast or the motor processing necessary for movement control on these functions will never be fulfilled. They will be intense but inefficient. You need the two to work together. Here are four drills you can use to improve the play of your secondary:

Diagram # 1

Your players start by facing the line of scrimmage. Backpedal by keeping their chest over the thigh. Keep elbows in and rotate the arm front to back at the shoulder in a short rhythmical motion. Eyes should remain forward and level. Plant to a lateral run at a 45-degree angle, keeping elbows in on the transition to the lateral run. Arm action must remain in an active rhythm during the entire drill phase and transition changes. Continue to backpedal and change to lateral angles until the final backpedal, then plant to a burst, choosing various angle releases as you continue your reps.

Diagram # 2

Begin the drill again facing the LOS. Then activate into a lateral run (note the arrow indicating ‘eyes’ in brackets). Watch for this on all drills provided. Plant with the leg that leads the direction. If going right, plant with the right to break the force of motion of that direction which will enable you to step back to backpedaling with the left leg. It becomes a plant. Then push with the right and step back rhythmically with the left. Plant again with the left leg to re-direct into the next lateral. Once again, the arms stay active at all times.

Diagram # 3

Backpedal facing the LOS. Same principles are applied as before. As the diagram indicates, plant with (left) leg downward to the surface (extension plant ), transition from plant into a lateral while still facing the LOS with eyes. Arm rotation stays active on the plant. This keeps the leg cycle active to the lateral (same on all transitions). Plant again to a 45-degree angle drop. Plant then to a full burst sprint. During all movements with direction changes you must keep eyes level and elbows in. Additionally, the hips are up on all movements so leg cycle will turn faster and plant transitions will be quicker.

Diagram  # 4

Backpedal per diagrams 1-3. Plant with left leg to the lateral. Then plant right leg to initiate transition to backpedal. Plant again to lateral 45-degree angle, plant right leg, switch to lateral, facing as arrows indicate, and again to a 45-degree angle. At end of lateral, plant to various burst sprint angles. The technical movement aspects remain constant on all drills.  


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