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The importance of Improving Lateral Speed

The best athletes are able to quickly escape from or close in on an opponent (or ball) at lightning speeds.

Much of that can be attributed to their ability to move fast in the lateral (Frontal) plane and ability to accelerate quickly.

We all know that Elite athletes are able to changes direction in a split-second. But, the really remarkable thing is how they can maintain or even increase speed while doing so.

With that being said, we’re going to show you how you can improve your lateral speed and take your game to the next level.

Accelerate to reach top lateral speed

Lateral acceleration is simply the ability of the athlete to reach top speed while his/her body orientation & visual focus is forward.

One of the best ways to improve lateral acceleration is by performing shuffle acceleration drills.

When performing shuffle acceleration exercises, the athlete will learn to produce quick and powerful force in order to effectively move the body laterally.

Cues to improve lateral speed and acceleration

Use these following cues to help maximize lateral acceleration.

  1. The athlete should think of “staying in the tunnel”. In other words, the athlete should stay down in the athletic stance and avoid rising up vertically.
  2. The athlete should “load the system”. Meaning, positioning the ankles, knees, and hips properly while keeping spine long and shoulders forward.
  3. The athlete should “stay long”. Simply put, covering distance on each step to maximize force production.
2 Simple exercises to improve lateral speed and acceleration

Perform the following 2 exercises to improve your lateral acceleration.

Remember the cues to maximize each set.

  1. Lateral Shuffle-One Step: 5 reps/side
  2. Lateral Shuffle-Two Step: 5 reps/side
Videos Explaining in Detail the 2 shuffle drills

Need some more guidance? Check out the video demonstrations for each of these exercises:

Taking it to the next level

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