Improve Quickness and Agility with the Speed Ladder

In the modern era speed and agility are one of the most essential assets a player can attain but training for this purpose is often overlooked. One of the simplest ways to boost this attribute is by implementing the speed ladder into your training routine. The benefits of the speed ladder help improve footwork, coordination and mental concentration. A sample workout that takes no more than 20 minutes can be seen below

Sample Workout

  • Straight Run (one foot in each) x3 repetitions

  • In n Out Hope (two-foot hop inside two feet hop outside) x3 repetitions

  • Continuous Hop( Two footed) x3 repetitions

  • Two Footed Sprint x3 repetitions

  • 180-degree high knee sprint(two-footed) x3 repetitions

  • 180-degree double jump (miss one space) x3 repetitions

  • Thunderbolt Step/Zigzag(forward and backward diagonally through)x3 repetitions

If you are new to the speed ladder be sure to take each exercise slowly and focus on getting the technique right. As you perform more repetitions, the technique will come where you can begin to increase the tempo of each drill. This is due to the science behind how our muscles work. Muscle memory is a type of motor learning called procedural memory occurring in the brain, of course. Through the act of repetition, your brain cements the action into its neural pathways so that the movement becomes second nature. This is exactly what you want. At the same time, there is something called Muscle Adaptation where our body becomes used to the movement and exercises we may be doing which is why it is vital to continue to challenge ourselves once we have reached the point where each drill can be done with ease. Not only do our muscles need to be tested but so does our brain and this is a way to improve both aspects at the same time while working on fitness, so it is a great way to knock out three birds with one stone.

As you begin to advance within performing each exercise you should look to add more game realistic scenarios to it for example upon completing one set, setting off with a burst of pace in a specific direction to train muscle memory when carrying out the motion which you will look to replicate in your game. This subconsciously builds good habits into your form and technique when looking to make changes in direction or a quick dash.

As an aspiring soccer player, all aspects of your game should be worked on, and this is one side of the game that is ignored but really consumes the least time in comparison to more technical drills. It can easily be added to the beginning or end of a session, so there are no excuses, get out there!


When should I start the recruiting process?

In the minds of young high schoolers aspiring to play in college, one of the most nerve-racking thoughts can be the unclear recruitment timeline. While there is no cookie cutter template regarding the timing of this process, here are a few simple steps and guidelines along the way that should provide some clarity:

  • Middle School –

While the thought of playing college soccer isn’t usually a focal point, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t a crucial time to prepare. For many, it is a crossroad that forces players to hone in on only one sport fulltime. It is important to figure out which club or high school could provide the most opportunity for player development and college exposure, all the while adhering to your style of play and academic goals. This helps strengthen the foundation for what is to come next.

  • Freshmen Year –

It is unlikely that college coaches are seriously targeting freshmen unless they happen to be one of the best players in the country, such as a national team player. However, this is a great opportunity for talented youngsters to stand out among older players at college ID camps or by playing up in age through their club. Coaches could take note of this and track you in the years to come when recruiting becomes more prominent. It is never too early to showcase your ability to coaches

  • Sophomore Year –

Towards the end of sophomore year is when high caliber youth teams/players begin to get noticed by coaches. Many of the elite tournaments and league playoffs occur in the spring/summer months, which is the most active time for coaches to venture the country in search of recruits. It is crucial that you develop a player bio earlier in the year so that when coaches do happen to come watch, you are prepared to get your info out there. For a player who wants to play in college, but might not be playing in some of the higher caliber tournaments the summer following their sophomore year (DA showcase/playoff, Dallas Cup, Regional Championships, Surf Cup, Jefferson Cup, etc.), ID camps are a great way to get noticed. It is less likely that many players commit before junior year, but this is the time when you can begin to grab serious attention from top colleges, which helps lead to an offer thereafter.

  • Junior Year --

Throughout junior year, college coaches will make offers to players who they presume to be the strongest in that class. Another important factor is the SAT score a player gets. Better students have an easier time getting recruited early on whereas some players won’t get an offer until the coach is confident they will be admitted to the school. This year is likely the time when scholarship money is given out, too. It really depends on when the majority of your games/tournaments are set to take place because many coaches will make you an offer somewhere between 2 weeks to 2 months after seeing you for the final time. This time frame depends of course on who else they are currently considering, how much money they have available, how many commits they currently have, and most importantly how much you have impressed them over time.

  • Senior Year --

While many players commit before their senior year begins, it does not mean coaches aren’t still looking for players, especially for D2 and D3 schools. Even a large number of D1 recruits commit in their senior year whether it be from having a standout high season or shining in tournaments like the Disney Showcase or National League in December. Obviously everyone wants to commit as soon as possible, but sometimes waiting until senior year helps players find a college that best aligns with what they aim to do academically/socially in college. These are factors that shouldn’t be underestimated because the most important key to success in college soccer is enjoying and owning the environment you are in.

  • Program Variation –

The timeline discussed above relates to the majority of college programs, but if you are aiming to play at one of the notorious powerhouses, such as those in the ACC or Pac12, it may differ. These programs have name recognition so are being bombarded with emails from players around the world who are aspiring to play there. With interest like this, it makes it easier for coaches to recruit players at younger ages, meaning they can confidently offer scholarships to freshmen or sophomores. In contrast, less notable programs would likely hesitate to commit players this young because of how much can change in 3 years. Other coaches, such as those in the Ivy League and Patriot League, recruit later because of the rigorous academic standards set by their admission office. It is nearly impossible to commit a player before they have seen SAT/ACT scores and high GPAs.


A Parent’s Guide to Communicating With Coaches

It is important for parents to be involved with the recruiting process but parents must not be overbearing.  The prospect should be the primary point of contact – coaches are recruiting prospects, not parents.  Coaches want to learn about the prospect and the prospect needs to be able to independently demonstrate that he/she is interested in the school and soccer program.  Parents must allow the prospect to communicate with the coach and develop a rapport.  The biggest mistake parents make, is not allowing the prospect to engage with the coach.

  • Phone Calls – Parents should help with the planning of making phone calls and documenting outgoing and incoming calls.  Parents can help prospects by rehearsing outgoing calls.   Parents can also help draw out a calendar to schedule outgoing calls and document incoming calls.  This will allow both parents and prospects to keep an eye on frequency of phone calls. 
  • Text/Instant Message – We recommend that parents do not use text or instant message with coaches.  Prospects can communicate with text/instant message with any relevant questions and immediate follow-ups for questions that cannot wait until the next phone call. 
  • Email – Review the materials the prospect is sending, but let the emails come from the prospect's accounts.  It is recommended to copy parents on all emails.  Parents should be aware of developments and the process.  If parents help draft email communication, make sure it is in the voice of the prospect.  Coaches have a sense when parents are sending emails as a ghost writer.  Sending mass emails before or after tournaments is the quickest way to get your child out of a recruiting class!
  • Recruiting Materials – Parents can research ways to effectively put together cover letters, resumes, YouTube highlights etc for the prospect.  Parents can help proof these documents.  Visit our Freebies page for templates.
  • Final Decisions/Money Matters – Parents need to be involved in the recruiting process when final decisions and money matters are being discussed.  Unless the conversation is purely financial, make sure the prospect in part of it!

Register today for Collegiate Soccer Camps and get first hand guidance from college coaches.

Helpful Links
A Parents role in the recruiting process 
Bleacher report- The Role of the Parent
Guiding parents through the recruiting process