Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Improve Stopping Speed For Football

If you are slow when you need to change directions, then you probably have poor stopping speed. Football players, in particular, have many stops, cuts and starts during a game.

The best players (defensive and offensive) are able to decelerate quickly and then accelerate with power in a different direction.

Great stopping speed requires postural control, core strength, dynamic balance and speed strength.

Deceleration is required to stop, slow down, or cut. Deceleration becomes more complicated when you must carry or track the football. That’s why drills should be done with the football. Your body must be aligned properly to decelerate and accelerate with quickness and power. Failure to align your body properly will subject you to injury.

I will use this example: The Side Shuffle



The side shuffle is an athletic movement common to all football players, especially skill position players. If you are moving to your left, the left leg must be in a position wide enough to stop momentum (just wider than the hips). This is commonly known as the athletic position. The left foot should also be pointed straight ahead and the ankle should be pointed upward (with weight on balls of feet).

Pointing the ankle upward will help you avoid sprained/rolled ankles and make the push off powerful. The knee should be aligned inside the plant foot to avoid ankle rolls and to take pressure off the hip.

One common mechanical breakdown is when the knees protrude far in front of the feet when decelerating. The hips need to remain level throughout the movement to avoid yo-yoing and inefficient movement.

You need to control your shoulders (leaned forward over feet, no swaying, etc.) with a strong core. This way, you can decelerate and accelerate with power and efficiency. In the same way, your head should be still (no bobbing and weaving) to allow you to focus on the ball.

A good strength foundation (including core strength) is needed to maximize power and speed. Now, hurry up and stop!

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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