Soccer speed drills are a great way to improve a player's pace, but more importantly, an ideal method of improving foot speed to perform skills and tricks during a match.
As I mentioned in the soccer fundamentals article, my favourite item of equipment to use for these are agility ladders as they provide a fun and different way of training to the normal exercises kids will do during group training sessions.
There are 3 ladder drills I teach to all the players I train regardless of whether they're beginners or elites and they provide a really good base for quickening up their foot speed and engaging their brains to become comfortable with short, fast movements.
The soccer videos below go through the process of learning the "Icky Shuffle", the "Back Foot Dance" and the 2 Up, 1 Back" techniques.
They show what the movements look like during the learning phase and then done quickly once the player has mastered them.
There is also a written description with a few tips you can use to help your child or player understand the process quicker.
The Icky Shuffle is great for improving all of the ABC's as it requires lots of concentration and plenty of different muscles to work in coordination with each other and it's an exercise that I find children are able to pick up very quickly despite it looking difficult when you see it in full flow for the first time.
When coaching this to your child, the key is to make them start off slowly and repeat the words "step, skip, step, skip" over in their minds until they've mastered the movement.
Once that's done it's just a case of gradually speeding things up.
See the video below for a visual demonstration...
I refer to this one as the Brazilian Back Foot Dance because I always think that the movement looks like something you'd see a Brazilian player do in celebration after scoring a goal.
It's probably the easiest of the techniques for a child to pick up and can be great for a quick confidence boost if they have been struggling with any of the other soccer speed drills.
All they need to do is make sure that the foot that comes behind the other is the one that lands inside the ladder whilst the front foot always comes over the ladder and lands on the outside.
At first glance you would think that this would be the easiest of the speed drills but strangely enough, the majority of the kids I work with find it one of the hardest to pick up.
It's aimed to confuse the brain and does a great job of doing just that!
The technique is to move two steps up the ladder then one step backwards and there's no real magic to coaching it other than repetition and encouragement.
I always find that either a big "high 5" or setting an easily achievable time target for getting to the end is a great way to boost confidence and help speed your child up once they have an idea of the movement involved.
Hopefully the video below helps...