To see the drill performed watch the video below.
- Utilize the crossover step. When you start the drill, and when you turn and change direction, you want to use a crossover step and not take any 'false' steps. A false step is where you pick up one foot and then put it right back down in essentially the same spot. When this happens you've basically taken a step but moved nowhere. We want to be as effecient as possible so we want to eliminate all false steps.
Watch the video above again. Notice how when I start out by going to the right I take my left foot and cross is over to my right. This is an example of a cross over step.
- Stay low. A big problem athletes have when performing this drill is they don't stay low enough. When you're first starting out you should not pop straight up. We want our movement to go horizontal, not vertical.
Also, when you're approaching a cone and getting ready to change direction your hips should gradually lower the closer you get to the cone. If you're having trouble staying low try touching both hands on the ground when you change direction, like I did in the pictures below.
- Keep your weight on your inside foot. When you turn, change direction, and plant you want to make sure you have at least 70% of your weight on your inside foot. The smaller the angle between your lead shin and the ground the better. Notice the angle of my shins in the pictures below.
If you struggle with having to much weight on your outside foot when you change direction it's likely that you are doing a poor job of decelerating. Remember, the closer you get to the cone the smaller your steps get and the lower your hips go.
- Keep hips aligned on your turn. When you plant to change direction it is extremely important that your hips are parallel to the cones. In order to get your lowest time possible you need to run in a straight line. When athletes plant and turn they often don't get their hips all the way around. This causes your inside foot to be too far forward.
To visualize this picture my left foot about 4-5 inches forward (towards the cone) in picture #1. When you're in this position while changing direction 1 of 2 things happen. Either you instinctively take a small step backwards to correct your position before you crossover and head the other direction, basically taking a false step; or you perform a crossover step out too wide making it impossible for you to keep your sprint in a straight line parallel to the cones. When you do this you almost make a banana shaped cut coming out of the break, which obviously we want to eliminate.
- Engage upper body. When accelerating it is crucial to get the upper body involved as much as possible. Notice how big the range of motion is at the shoulder when these sprinters are exploding out of the box. You need to do the same exact thing when you accelerate in this drill. Think about having a violent arm swing when you launch out laterally. A cue I use a lot with my athletes is simply "big arms."