Elite Wide Receiver Agility Training: Linear Change of Direction

Hey athletes, today we’re diving into an elite wide receiver performance training session with Ryan Davis. Ryan, a phenomenal athlete and the all-time leading receiver at Auburn, has had stints in both the NFL and CFL. Working with him is always a pleasure, and in this session, we focused on enhancing his ability to rapidly change direction while accelerating linearly—a crucial skill for all wide receivers. Let’s get into it!

Warm-Up and Movement Preparation

As with any high-intensity training session, we started with a thorough warm-up and movement preparation. This included dynamic stretches and mobility drills to prepare Ryan’s muscles and joints for the intense work ahead. Following the warm-up, we moved into specific movement prep from a change of direction standpoint, integrating plyometrics to prime his neuromuscular system for the explosive cuts he would be performing.

Linear Deceleration Drills

To kick things off, we focused on Ryan’s linear deceleration ability through a series of progressive drills:

  1. Multi-Step Deceleration (No Complete Stop) This drill allows the athlete to decelerate without coming to a complete stop. It helps in managing momentum and learning to control speed effectively.
  2. Multi-Step Deceleration (Complete Stop): Here, the athlete decelerates to a complete stop, emphasizing control and stability at the end of the movement.
  3. Single Leg Dead Stop: This is the most challenging of the three, placing maximum stress on a single leg to absorb force and rapidly decelerate. It’s crucial for building strength and stability in each leg independently.

Linear Change of Direction Drills

Next, we transitioned to linear change of direction drills, progressing from simple to more complex movements by increasing the cutting angle:

  1. Basic Y-Cut: The athlete accelerates linearly and makes a small-angle cut. This drill integrates the plyometric work done earlier, teaching the athlete to plant their foot and divert force efficiently.
  2. Aggressive Y-Cut: Similar to the basic Y-cut but with a sharper angle, requiring more abrupt changes in direction and force application.
  3. Full 90-Degree Cut: This is the most aggressive drill in the linear series, where the athlete must decelerate and cut at a full 90 degrees, then re-accelerate. It’s excellent for building the explosive power needed to change directions quickly on the field.

180-Degree Turns

Following the linear series, we moved into 180-degree turn drills. These drills were also progressive:

  1. Basic 180-Degree Turn: Involves a less aggressive angle, allowing the athlete to acclimate to the movement.
  2. Full 180-Degree Turn: A more challenging turn that requires the athlete to completely reverse direction, simulating real game scenarios where such quick pivots are necessary.

Curvilinear Movement

In football, athletes often react to dynamic stimuli, making curvilinear movements just as important as angular cuts. We incorporated drills that emphasized movement in arcs and circles, where the athlete bends their path rather than making sharp cuts:

  1. Quarter Arcs: Starting with small arcs to get used to the movement pattern and muscle engagement.
  2. Half Figure Eights: Progressing to larger arcs, forcing the athlete to use both legs effectively for direction changes.
  3. Full Figure Eights: Combining multiple arcs, demanding sustained effort and precise control.
  4. Serpentine Runs: These involve linear sprints with crossover steps, mimicking the footwork seen in a player’s stem or post-catch maneuvers.

Resistance Training

To wrap up the session, we incorporated resistance training focused on enhancing change of direction capabilities. This included:

  1. Resisted Sprints: Using bands or sleds to add resistance, helping build power and strength in the lower body.
  2. Agility Ladder Drills: With resistance, these drills improve foot speed and coordination under load.

Strength Training

After the change of direction work, we concluded with our regular strength training routine, focusing on compound lifts and functional movements to build overall power and resilience.


This training session was designed to elevate and enhance Ryan Davis’s ability to make rapid, precise cuts on the field. By focusing on both linear and curvilinear movements, along with integrating resistance and strength training, we aim to optimize his performance.

We’ve seen great success with Ryan, and we’re excited to watch him continue to excel on the field. For all the wide receivers out there, I hope this walkthrough provides valuable insights into how you can enhance your own training. Keep pushing your limits, and until next time, stay dominant!

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