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When watching a soccer game, you’ll notice that the ball changes direction constantly. This change of direction could be accidental…deflections or a miss hit or on purpose like a wall pass or a diagonal pass. It could also be accomplished by an attacking player dribbling and then changing direction with the ball.
In any event, in order to continue to get better as a soccer player and to be able to stay up with the play, soccer players must learn a very important skill. That skill is soccer agility. You might be asking yourself how does a player learn agility? Soccer agility or agility by itself is really the ability of a player to change direction safely, efficiently and explosively. The most dangerous athlete on the field is the athlete who can stop the fastest and then explode in a new direction. The most important concept to learn from that last sentence is that agility is a skill that can be learned. Once learned, a player now becomes very dangerous on the soccer field.
Even if you do not have the ball, you need to be able to change direction effectively and quickly. Many defenders need to be extremely agile as they need to be able to react quickly and explosively to what an attacking player is trying to accomplish with the ball against them.
Here are three quick pointers to help a soccer player with their soccer agility:
- When stopping quickly, a player must first take a few smaller steps as they approach the spot where they need to stop at. These smaller steps start slowing down the player allowing them to stop more quickly.
- As they are taking these smaller steps, they also need to start to lower their hips and bend their knees dropping their center of gravity. This part is critical for all players but especially for our female soccer players as female players tend to stay too upright when stopping putting an enormous strain on the knee. Female soccer players have a higher incidence of knee injuries then male players because of this.
- At the point where they need to stop, they should have their feet about shoulder width apart. Having their feet about shoulder width apart allows for better balance and now allows a soccer player to go in a new direction quickly and explosively.
With these smaller steps, bent knees and hips down, the athlete has now effectively slowed themselves down and can now prepare for their next step in a powerful new direction.
Following these quick pointers will help a player become more athletic and more dangerous on the field. It will also help them lessen the chance of suffering a serious knee injury.
Because the game of soccer is played with the ball going in many different directions, the better a soccer player can change direction, the better they will be on the field and the more dangerous they can become as as a soccer player.
Have a great day!
write by Eunice