Imagine turning up to your next soccer training session, setting up in less than 5 minutes and having every player fully engaged in what you’re trying to coach them.
Nice thought isn’t it!
Well, not only can you make that thought reality in the next 10 minutes, but you’ll also be giving yourself more ideas to develop your players, more sessions to add to your portfolio and overall you’ll position yourself as a pretty cool soccer coach.
By using a simple piece of equipment that the pro’s use.
In-fact, pro players love it so much, they have been known to ask if training can have some sort of element of their session based around this one piece of equipment.
The Life of a Soccer Coach
The chances are you work all week. You spend most of your time bringing home the bacon. If that’s not enough, you then end up trying to find time to sit down and plan your next soccer session.
Coaching was meant to be as fun as playing the game wasn’t it?
Before you know it, your next training session comes round and you’re floundering around trying to piece together your ‘research’ from YouTube. You deliver your session only to change things half way through.
You end lose the initial excitement you had a few days ago when you sat down to plan the session, the players notice, and your whole session falls to pieces quicker than the England team can score a goal.
How can you transfer your excitement in the initial planning stage right through to the end of the session?
How can ensure you never run out of ideas again?
How can you decrease your research time, decrease your stress levels whilst increasing the quality and effectiveness of your sessions?
Agility Ladders – That’s how!
Agility Ladders Are More Than Just Ladders!
Agility ladders are tool, that when used properly can go a long way to solving all these problems and more.
By including a few structured ladder drills in your next session you’ll be able to;
- Command More Respect From your Players (and Parents!): Position yourself as the authority
- Set up in Less Than 5 Minutes
- Instantly Improve Your Players Speed, Agility & Reaction Time
- Bring a New Dimension to Your Coaching: Turn your average soccer session into a professional looking training session
- Keep Your Training Session Fresh
- Ensure YOU Develop as a Coach
- Enjoy Your Coaching!: That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? If you’re not enjoying it then I question whether your players are either!
‘That’s Great…But I’ve Never Used Agility Ladders Before!’
That’s cool! In-fact, even if you’ve never set foot on an agility ladder before, even if you’ve never coached any ladder exercises or drills before – don’t worry!
The great thing about agility ladder exercises and drills is that you’ll be able to pick it up within seconds.
Yes. I really mean that.
You don’t learn by not doing!
5 Steps to Mastering Soccer Ladder Drills
Step #1: Who are you coaching?
Your sessions need to be age appropriate. If you coach one age group then you pretty much sorted here. However, if you’re prone to coaching a few age groups for whatever reason then list down the different age groups.
It’s important to identify these age groups first so you can go into step #3 full of confidence.
Action: Write down all the age groups you coach. If it’s only one team, that’s fine. Just get it written it down.
Step #2: Why Will You Be Using
- Training Warm Up / Pre Game: Exercise Ladders are great for warm ups, whether that’s before a training session or before a game. It not only helps support their technical warm up but also gently forces each player to become more mentally focused as well.
- Post Game / Training: Apart from looking highly professional in front of other teams, using ladders at the end of a game or at the end of training can be a great way to re-enforce their learning.
- Mid-Session: Agility Ladders are a fantastic way of progressing a specific technique.
- Part of a Larger Conditioning Session: You might be using ladders as part of a conditioning circuit too.
Action: Write down why you’re using ladders. Be as specific as possible as the next two steps are where your session starts to come alive.
PSC Tip: If this is the first time you’re using agility ladders, start by introducing them in your warm up. It’s a great way not only to build your confidence but also introduces your players gently.
Step #3: What Ladder Drills & Exercises Are You Going to Use?
Now you’ve identified who and why you’re using agility ladders it’s time to tailor the exercises around that group of players.
The great thing about ladders and the drills / exercises you can do with them is you can be as creative as you want.
Again, depending on what you’re trying to achieve (see Step #2) you’ll typically want to structure your exercises into two categories; without a ball and with a ball.
If you’re looking for some great ladder exercises, drills and workouts then I highly recommend you check out the free guide below.
Action: Choose the exercises based on what you’ve written down in the 2 previous steps using the exercises in the guide above.
Step # 4: How Will You Deliver?
You’ve got the exercises written down, now’s the time to lay down some structure. As you’ve already identified why you’ll be using ladders in your next session this part really comes down to how you’re going to deliver your exercises.
Here are a few examples to get you started;
Warm Up: Each drill or exercise 3 times through before moving onto the next slightly harder exercise.
Post Training / Game: Again you could get your players to do each exercise 3 times but instead of getting progressively harder and more intense you could go the opposite way and get them to slow down each ‘rep’.
Conditioning: Circuit of exercises where players perform each ‘station’ for a set period of time. For example 4 lots of 30 seconds (20 seconds active – 10 seconds rest)
Step # 5: Where Are You Coaching?
Now you’ve identified the exercises you’re going to use and how you’re going to deliver them, it’s time to pick the best ladder for the job.
When agility ladders first hit the ‘scene’ – they weren’t all that great for different playing surfaces. These days you’re really spoilt for choice.
You’ll need to identify what playing surface you’ll be using most regularly.
Ideally you’ll need a speed ladder that is heavy enough to stay in place when used or that has some sort of way of keeping the ladder in place on indoor surfaces. You can find a list of indoor speed and agility ladder here.
If you’re using your ladder on grass then the SKLZ Quick Flat Rung Ladder is probably your best bet. You’ll not only get a booklet with a set of drills and exercises but it also comes with stakes to securely keep the ladder grounded.
PSC Tip: These days a lot of soccer is played on multiple surfaces from good old fashioned grass, to indoor right through to 3rd Generation AstroTurf. Have a quick think about what would make your ladder suitable for the surface you play on.
Soccer Ladders Drills: Speed & Agility for Soccer – Conclusion
You now have the knowledge to go ahead and start your next training session with a bang!
If you’re looking to invest in a high quality, durable and versatile speed and agility ladder have a look at the SKLZ Quick Agility Ladder and let me know how you get on – I’ll be more than happy to post your exercises, drills and workouts right here on Portable Sports Coach!