Are you a soccer player who wants to juke your competition? Or a basketball player who wants to fly by their opponents, leaving them wondering what to do? Perhaps your athletic success in these situations is always going to depend on how well you change your direction. Therefore, the only way to master this art is to get indulged in Change of Direction drills. But which drills are more suitable? This is what we will discuss in this guide.
What are the best Change of Direction drills you must perform?
Simple drills, during which you must mimic the foundational movements of the sport, are the best drills to acquire the required skill. With these Change of Movement drills mastered, you will be able to see a quick transition from training to competitive sport.
Here are the top 5 Change of Direction drills.
1. Lateral Line Hops
Do you want to be able to change your direction briskly? The most fundamental ability to do is to get good with inversion and aversion of the ankle. With these two functions enhanced, you will be better able to push the ground laterally while absorbing all the necessary force. And the best part is you won’t get injured.
The drill you can perform to enhance the inversion and aversion of your ankle is Lateral Line Hops. It typically involves hopping on both sides with both legs. Once the double-leg hops are mastered, you can start with single-leg hops. And depending on your ability, you can jump higher and wider; your call.
Here is how you can perform lateral line hops.
- Find or draw a line.
- Stand with both feet on one side of the line. Both knees should be slightly bent. Start with getting the body’s center of gravity over the line.
- Now, press the stopwatch’s button and start hopping over the line. Ensure not to move forward or backward.
- Keep the jumping distance as uniform as possible.
- Accomplish the maximum possible jumps in the allotted time.
2. Lateral Shuffle Shuttle
Abduction and adduction of the hip play a vital role in executing a successful change of direction during sports. And like inversion/aversion of the ankle, the abduction/adduction of the hip allows you to laterally push the ground and absorb the force. The change of direction you can perform to master this function is the lateral shuffle shuttle.
Here is a quick overview of the steps involved in the lateral shuffle shuttle drill.
- Place three cones, each one 2.5 yards apart in a line.
- Stand behind the middle cone and get into an athletic straddling stance.
- Now, push your rear leg in the direction of the cone on one side.
- Move by chopping your feet when approaching the cone.
- Now push your rear leg again in the direction of the cone on the other side of the central cone.
- Reduce your speed and chop your feet again as you reach the cone.
- Move to the middle cone and finish.
3. Lateral Broad Jump
The lateral broad jump is one of the basic Change of Direction drills to help you juke your opposition on the field. This movement involves pushing off the rear leg laterally to get airborne. While in the air, you must rotate and land on both feet. This drill allows you to incorporate lateral power, force absorption, and body control all at once.
Here is how to perform a Lateral Broad Jump.
- Stand in a position facing the location where you need to land.
- Muster the power in your rear leg.
- Extend your hips with your knees bent slightly.
- Swing your front leg to bring it behind the rear leg.
- And then swing the front leg outward to get airborne.
- When in the air, rotate your body to face forward.
- Land on the ground with soft feet.
4. Lateral Cone Hops
Lateral cone hops aim to develop inversion and aversion of the ankle. This exercise helps players to reduce the ground contact time between two jumps. The addition of cones to the drill helps athletes gain ideal body control.
Here is how to perform this drill.
- Place four cones, each one 12 inches apart, in a straight line.
- Stand behind one cone with knees slightly bent and hips extended back.
- Hit each cone by jumping laterally.
- Once you have jumped through all the cones and reached the final one, pause for a second, and start jumping towards the starting cone.
- You may increase the difficulty level of this drill by increasing the distance between cones.
5. Single Leg Broad 90
The single-leg broad 90 is one of the most advanced Change of Direction drills. It is a drill based on reactive jumping, which requires an athlete to change directions more rapidly. The purpose of this drill is to build explosive lateral power, which helps shorten the ground contact time between jumps.
Here are the steps involved in a single-leg broad 90.
- Place four cones on the ground, making a T shape.
- Stand next to the cone located at the bottom of the T.
- Jump forward with one leg to reach the middle cone on the top.
- After reaching the middle cone, push the landed leg laterally to jump towards the cone on one side.
- Land on both feet.
- Repeat the same drill to reach the cone on the other side.
Role of Jumping Performance
Your jumping performance is based on your explosive power, which you can build with some strength training. Deadlifting is one particular exercise that may help increase your jumping performance. Here are the top reasons why this strength training workout must be a part of the workout regimen of every athlete looking to enhance their ability to change directions through jumping.
- Deadlifts enhance the rate of force development.
- Deadlifts allow you to lift the load from a position that replicates the jumping form.
- Deadlifts are a great workout to enhance tendon stiffness.
Adjusting the load and changing speeds during deadlifts can help enhance jumping performance in different dimensions. For example, you can increase the speed of your lifts by reducing the load on both sides of the barbell or trap bar. This speed and load adjustment is a part of velocity-based training, a special measure that records your movements and formulates suggestions to help you achieve your fitness goals.
VBT generally involves using technology to measure and plan exercises. The standard device used in this regard is a linear position transducer. Some transducers, such as the one from Vitruve, use AI-based software to interpret and categorize movements. This can help athletes and coaches with more effective workout planning.
If you want to participate in basketball, soccer, or football at a competitive level, ensure that you are agile enough to dodge your opponents. That’s where the change of direction comes in. This skill requires adequate training, which is possible with the Change of Direction Drills mentioned above. Not only do these drills help you jump and change direction quickly, but they also help you build an ideal body balance.