6 Challenging Soccer Speed & Agility Drills

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I recently had the pleasure of introducing a number of U11 and U12 girls from the Roma soccer club in Frederick, MD to some basic speed and agility exercises.

The photo below is just one simple example I used with this group. In this example, Cones A and B are placed roughly 8-10 yards apart. Cone C is placed approximately 8 yards from cone A. In Addition, Cones D and E are placed about 8 yards from cone B.

I call this the STAR drill. It’s very easy to set-up, and requires just five cones. The combinations of movements within this drill are endless. In this post I will provide examples of 6 speed and agility exercises that can be trained by using the simplistic STAR drill.

 

STAR Drill Exercises

1: A-B-C-D-E-F

Player starts at cone A, sprints forward towards cone B, turns around the left side of cone B and proceeds to cone C. Again, the player turns around the left side of cone C and sprints diagonally to cone D. The player turns around the left side of cone D and sprints across to the left side of cone E. The athlete turns around cone E and finishes the exercise by sprinting through the final cone, cone F.

In this example, the athlete will always enter each cone by cutting to the right. To have the athlete cut to the left, simply change the starting position from A to C. In this example, an athlete would perform the same movement in the following pattern: C-B-A-E-D-F.

2: A-B-C-D-E-F 

Player starts at cone A, sprints forward towards cone B, turns around the left side of cone B and proceeds to cone C by sprinting backwards. Again, the player turns around the left side of cone C and pushes off their back foot to  sprint diagonally to cone D. The player turns around the left side of cone D and sprints backwards across to the left side of cone E. The athlete turns around cone E and pushes off their back foot to finish the exercise by sprinting through the final cone, cone F.

As with the last example, this exercise can be reversed by changing the starting point from cone A to cone C.

3: A-B-C-D-E-F 

Player starts at cone A, sprints forward towards cone B, turns around the left side of cone B and side shuffles to cone C . Their left foot will lead the movement. The  player turns around the left side of cone C and sprints forward to cone D. The player turns around the left side of cone D and shuffles across towards the  left side of cone E. The athlete turns around cone E and finishes the exercise by sprinting through the final cone, cone F.

She shuffle can be reversed from leading with the left foot to leading with the right foot by starting on cone C.

4. A-B-A-B-C-B-A

Player starts at cone A, sprints forward to cone B, rounds cone B and sprints back to the starting position. The athlete then sprints to cone B, turns around cone B and proceeds to cone C. Once the athlete reaches cone C, they round the cone, and immediately sprint back and round cone B. The exercise finishes once the athlete sprints back to cone A.

5. A-D-B-E-C-A

In this example the player will stay outside the drill. The player will sprint from cone A to the outside of cone D. From there, they will sprint to cone B. The player will then sprint to cone E, followed by cone C. The exercise finishes when the athlete runs to cone A.

In this example, the athlete should focus on making small, sharp turns through each cone. Coaches should look out for athletes that have a difficult time rounding cones at higher intensities. This exercise is not suitable for beginners.

To cut to the left, reverse the pattern by starting at cone C and sprinting to the right.

6: A-B-D-E / C-B-E-D

The sixth example here introduces the concept of competition. By now, the player should feel comfortable sprinting forward, in reverse, shuffling to their left/right and rounding cones.

Player 1 starts on cone A, while Player 2 starts on cone C. Both player 1 and player 2 sprint to cone B (player 1 sprints to the left of cone B, while player 2 sprints to the right of cone B). Player 1 adjusts his/her movement and sprints backwards to cone  D, rounds cone D, and sprints toward cone E by exiting from the right side of cone D. Simultaneously, Player 2 performs their own movements- which mirror Player 1. Player 2 would sprint to cone B, sprint backwards to cone E and exit the left side of cone E to sprint across to cone D.

Who’s the winner? Whoever is the first to exit the final cone. If an athlete isn’t accustomed to the STAR drill, sprinting technique may break down. Therefore, adding an element of competition is advised only when you feel that the players’ are competent each movement.

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