Today we will be focusing on a very important change of direction movement called the Drop Step.
The drop step is mainly used when transitioning from backward to forwards, whether from a standstill or a moving start. The drop step allows us to quickly and efficiently get into a position to use footwork we have already worked on and are comfortable with the crossover and open steps. To execute the drop step well, there are 3 keys for us to focus on:
Footwork: Our footwork to end up in our lateral start position is a 2-step sequence: a turn and plant from what will be our back foot (drive leg) and a drop step (behind us) from what will be our lead leg. The athlete should end up in a lateral start position. *In real-time from a moving start, it may look like one step*
Angle: During the drop step to our lateral position, our now lead foot needs to end up parallel or slightly behind in relation to our back foot. This allows a clear path for our back leg to drive through and quickly turn our hips in the direction we are going. Without a clear path, we end up fighting against our own body to get our hips through.
Body lean/Weight distribution: When the 2-step sequence is initiated, we cannot get caught leaning forward in the direction we started facing. As we turn, our torso should shift to lean in the direction we are going. Our hips shift to get the weight on the inside of our back (drive) foot so we can explosively push in our desired direction. If our body lean and weight distribution is not in line, we will have to fight our own momentum throughout the turn.
How to work on this movement:
*Ideally these drills are run on a line to monitor drop step angle and driving in a straight line*
2-step: 1st command = athlete executes 2 step sequence and ends in lateral start position; 2nd command = explode out of lateral start, turning and running down the line.
Stand still: Athlete starts facing opposite of desired direction - One command = turn and run in desired direction - staying down the line will show how clean the turn is.
Back pedal: From a controlled backpedal = turn and run on command
Forward walk: From a controlled walk forward = stop - turn and run on command