April 9, 2020

3 ways to Improve your Change of Direction

Skilled footwork is integral to becoming a skilled soccer player, especially the major footwork we use to change direction, known as the Open Step and the Crossover Step. The focus of these movements is being quick, efficient, and explosive so that we can make up, or gain, a step in a game situation.

Open Step: the lead foot is the first step (going right = right foot). The lead foot opens up in the direction we are going and the back foot drives through to turn our hips.
Crossover Step: the back foot is the first step (going right = left foot). The back leg drives through turning our hips to where we want to go.

*It does NOT matter which one is used, be efficient and explosive!*

3 ways to work on these movements:

1. Static Start: From a balanced position, decide what step you're going to use - shift your weight properly - then explode in the chosen direction
2. Moving Start: From an athletic position, walk forward slowly - then turn and run in a predetermined direction - working through both open and crossover steps
3. Reactionary: Jumping over a small hurdle, create a visual cue that will send you in either direction - either step can be used - concentrate on which step you used so you can internalize the feel of each step

Keys to improving these movements:

Weight distribution - proper weight distribution allows explosive start; Open - Inside of back foot; Crossover - Outside/middle of lead foot; Foot/knee angle - allows our hips to get through cleanly, eliminating extra steps; Open - lead foot turns full 90 degrees = clear path to drive hips in the desired direction in 2 steps; Crossover - back knee drives through to turn hips 90 degrees in 1 step (middle picture)

Try these movements in your backyard

Apply your training to Nike Soccer Camps this Summer!