Top tips from former Torquay United defender Aaron Downes, now the assistant manager at Torquay, on how to be better at the back MORE
Fast footwork fitness test
Getting players back to fitness after a lazy summer is an important part of any pre-season checklist. This fun speed and agility exercise is great for developing quick footwork, acceleration and speed. It will also help with quick dummy moves.
Set up an area around 20 x 15 yards. You need 4 hurdles and two speed ladders and 8 cones. Set them up as in the diagram.
How to do it
Tell your front two players to stand by the side of the hurdles. Both players have to jump with their feet together, sideways over the first hurdle and then forwards over the next hurdle. The technique for jumping is very important – feet together, use the balls of the feet to jump and land, and use the arms for balance.
Players then sprint to the cones at the end of the square. The first push after jumping over the hurdles is important to launch your players into a sprint.
Tell your players to jog around to the speed ladders.
The next two players should be ready to go. They go as soon as the first two players have reached the cones at the far end.
The first set of players then go forwards or sideways through the speed ladders. The technique for this is quick footwork, using the balls of the feet, tell your players they must try not to touch the ladders. Again they should use their arms for balance.
Players jog back to the cones and to the back of the line.
Each player should do the drill around 5-6 times.
Tell your players you want to see good technique and 100 per cent effort throughout the exercise.