3.28.17

The Importance of Lateral Quickness

By: Travelle Gaines

As an athlete there is always something you can get better at. Whether it is getting stronger, faster, or even smarter, it’s all valuable to your game on the field.

However, many forget the importance of one key skill: lateral quickness, otherwise known as side-to-side movement speed or change-of-direction speed.

Whether you’re an infielder for baseball, a linebacker in football, or a defensive player in soccer, you’ve got to have some sort of lateral quickness — so it’s always great to work on lateral quickness, change of direction, and multi-directional sport specific change of direction at least twice a week. Adding these lateral quickness drills makes you a better athlete — it puts you in the game and in a position to win.

Along with making you a better athlete overall, having good lateral quickness also can help you when it comes to injury prevention.

Along with making you a better athlete overall, having good lateral quickness can also help you when it comes to injury prevention. The biggest issue is so many people associate speed with the 40 yard dash — there are very few times you’re actually running that long of a distance. Normally, if you find yourself running that far, you made a bad play and are chasing someone down. To put yourself in positions that you will see on the playing surface — whether it’s the court, the diamond, or the grass — is a way to greatly reduce the chances of injury.

Lateral Quickness Drills:

Mini Hurdle Follow Through

  • Set up two small hurdles side by side.
  • Start on the right side of the hurdles and shuffle back and forth through the hurdles quickly.
  • Set a timer so you can do each set for a certain amount of time.

Mini Hurdle Stop

  • Set up two small hurdles side by side.
  • At a slower pace, shuffle through the hurdles.
  • When you get to each side hold and plant your outside leg and dorsal flex your inside knee up.

The Eastbay Shuffle

  • Set up a few small hurdles side by side with a cone on either side of the hurdles.
  • In an athletic stance move sideways over the hurdles, lifting one foot at a time over each hurdle.
  • Get low and touch the cone on either side of the hurdles before going back to the other side.
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