Lateral movement is critical to developing change of direction speed and agility. You never know what type of movement you’ll need to use on the field, so I have my athletes train all kinds of patterns to be prepared both physically and mentally. These drills are patterned into your nervous system so they become second nature even while moving at top speed. The lateral shuffle is really important to develop cutting, where you have to step out of a defenseman’s way or find your way to net around the competition.
Keep reading for how to perform and program the lateral shuffle to sprint.
WHY DO THE LATERAL SHUFFLE TO SPRINT?
The lateral shuffle to sprint is very similar to a lot of defensive movement you’ll see and perform on the field. Change of direction is an incredibly common movement pattern within any sport. The lateral shuffle and sprint can and should be practiced separately, but I love pairing them together to work on the “turn and sprint.” Before you start any workout, perform this dynamic warm-up that my athletes use every day
I would recommend warming up with a few specific drills before getting into it:
- Lateral shuffles
- Skater hops
- Lateral shuffle to two foot hop
- Short sprints
How to do the lateral shuffle to sprint:
Set up 3 cones each about 5 yards apart to set your parameters. Start by standing in front of one cone in an athletic stance with your hips pushed back and toes pointed forward. Keeping your toes facing in the same direction, you’ll take two quick lateral shuffles until you end up at the next cone. Immediately upon reaching this second cone, turn and explode into a sprint to reach the third cone.
The lateral shuffle to sprint is best programmed after a solid warm-up and some low level plyometrics to prep the lower limbs. Aim for about 4-5 rounds of 1 repetition (each direction). Finish it up with a lower body strength session like this or vertical jump and plyometrics.
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If you’re serious about your speed, you should probably be doing the same.
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