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  • Writer's pictureBaldMarauder

Keep Developing - Solutions For Athletes in Isolation

It’s spring break, and we are all sitting at home staring at each other…let’s work out!

I'm serious; we need to keep challenging ourselves to improve. As players, parents, and coaches; this is the ideal time to foster curiosity, self-awareness, and intrinsic motivation. This is not what everyone thought 2020 was going to look like, but in some ways we are being given an opportunity here, don't waste it!

Today we are focusing on lateral movement and balance. As we move through the progression today, we want the athlete to really focus on staying stable through the midsection (core), explode off the ground with 'mental weight' on the inside of the plant foot, and keep your arm movements compact.

Dynamic Warm Up

This is something we do not address enough, especially as younger athletes. It is a good habit to form at an early age, and has performance benefits on the mental and physical side. As opposed to static stretching, dynamic warm ups activate muscle firing sequences and actively force your limbs through movement patterns. Five minutes tops – foam roll if you can.

I like to use this time to prime my mind about the upcoming training session, get in touch with my body, and spend extra time on anything that feels ‘off.’

Core Activation

We have demonstrated some ground based core movements in earlier postings – I would recommend those when possible. Today let's do a plank series; front, side, side, front. Start with 30 seconds each, and progress up to 60 seconds.

Lateral Movement

In a prior post we spent time talking about inline speed. Today the emphasis will be on maintaining a stable core and great body angles to explode out of our lateral breaks.

Lateral Progression: Quick Foot Ladder

If you don’t have a ladder, use a line on the sidewalk, chalk, or paint a permanent one on the driveway! Quick foot ladder drills are great for finding a rhythm between your arms and legs. Most athletes will be able to go through the detailed drills, but have them really focus on keeping their elbows around a 90 degree angles, keep arms in step with lower body movement, and minimize time on turf when applicable.

Lateral Progression: Lateral Bounding Double/Single Leg

Always land in a position to jump again! We want to generate force immediately as we hit the ground during these movements. You can use hurdles when available, but they are unnecessary and only used as a cue. We can adjust difficulty of the jumps by height or distance. It is better to not jump over anything than jump over something that is fixed or heavy! Things to focus on:

1) Core balance – cue athlete to tighten core as stability here will translate into balance and power during consecutive lateral jumps

2) Arm mechanics – try to keep your arms in line with your body angle – everything in your chain is working together!

3) Time on turf is minimal – land in a position to jump again.

Lateral Progression: Push to Base

This is a movement pattern technique designed to keep the athlete in a good base position while using the plant foot to generate force. If you have a band or rope to put around the athlete’s waist that will help reinforce the idea of ‘pushing the hip out’ as opposed to ‘leading with the ankle.’ The best way to teach this is going up an incline, as it forces you to really feel that backside leg.

Lateral Progression: Side Shuffle

After mastering that pattern, we want to try and reinforce it by making repeated change of direction movements. Start with three cones each 3-4 yards apart. Start by splitting the middle cone with your body. First clap move your feet, then we are moving on visual direction. Directional cone, far cone, and back to middle. Emphasis is on keeping feet no closer than a good base position, and transferring power to opposite foot on the turn so we can explode on ground contact.

These drills are great to do before an explosive training session, weight session, or practice. If you get into a rhythm, this will take about 15 minutes total. Work on developing good habits now; they will pay off later this year!

Keep training hard! Any questions on specifics hit me up on Twitter @UnrivaledESS, Instagram @UnrivaledSystems, or email me at


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1 Comment

Apr 10, 2020

Thanks for the lateral movement video - I need to work on pushing off my inside leg. Very helpful illustration

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