7 Great Partner Strength, Speed and Agility Drills

The Viper is an outstanding training aid but
it is also one that requires athletes and coaches to practice certain safety precautions
at all times. First, under no circumstance is the Viper designed for horseplay. Many
of the drills conducted with the Viper involve stretching the eight-foot Flexicord. The tension
that is placed on the Viper’s Flexicord is capable of numerous unique training benefits
but it is also of capable of causing injury if misused. Coaches and athletes using the
Viper must understand that they are engaged in serious training and not casual play. Second, the Viper’s Flexicord is 8 feet long
and is designed to be stretched to a maximum distance of 20 feet. Over-stretching the Flexicord
could cause the Flexicord to rupture or could cause components of the belt or handle attachment
to break due to excess force. To avoid unintentional over-stretching, cones marking the maximum
stretch limit should be used at all times. It should be noted that some Viper drills
cover more than 20 feet but in such circumstances the anchor athlete is moving with the athlete
being trained so that separation is never more than 20 feet. The Viper’s Flexicord is designed to be attached
to the padded Viper waist belt and/or the Viper handle strap. No other devices should
be used to secure either end of the Flexicord. When attaching the Flexicord to the waist
belt, only one end of the Flexicord should be attached to any of the individual metal
rings at one time. Both ends of the Flexicord may be secured to separate metal rings at
the same time but not to the same metal ring at one time. Athletes and coaches should inspect
the attachment points on the waist belt before each use for signs of wear or damage. If either
is discovered the belt should not be used. When only one end of the Flexicord is attached
to the Viper’s waist belt the other end must be secured to the Viper’s attachment handle.
This handle may be wrapped around a sturdy, stationary object like a goal post, worn around
the waist of a second athlete, or held in the hand of a second athlete. When this third
method is used the athlete should insert his or her hand through the handle’s loop and
then firmly grasp the strap. Athlete’s wearing the Viper’s waist belt must be conscious of
how they connect the front buckle. The male end of the buckle should be inserted straight
into the female end so that both teeth on the male end click into place. If the athlete
does not connect the buckle properly only one of the teeth will click into place and
may cause the buckle to come unfastened during use. In this drill the Flexicord component will
be used to assist the athlete through a Lateral Slide and through the transition into a Linear
Sprint. The athlete begins in a lateral position with the Flexicord attached to the lead hip.
The partner then walks out to a distance of 10 to 12 feet so the Flexicord is pulling
at the athlete’s lead hip. The athlete will initiate this drill by beginning the Lateral
Slide motion. The partner will then begin to move so the distance between the two is
maintained while the athlete is moving. At the halfway mark of this distance the athlete
turns and sprints through the final cone. As with all lateral drills it is important
that the athlete perform equal repetitions to the left and right. To play lock down defense an athlete must
be able to quickly move both to the left and right and be able to smoothly transition between
the two. Performing Lateral W Slides with resistance and assistance of a Flexicord is
the perfect training mechanism for developing this skill. Lateral W Slides are performed
by setting up a series of cones in a W configuration with two to three yards of separation between
each cone. The athlete begins at the first cone with the Flexicord on his hip and the
training partner spaced about 10 to 12 feet away so the Flexicord is slightly stretched.
The athlete performs the drill by sliding laterally around each cone in the W configuration.
The partner moves with the athlete so the Flexicord remains consistently stretched to
the athlete’s side during the entire repetition. The Box Drill is one of those exercises that
is so fun athletes forget just how hard they are working. This drill is set up using cones
to create a square that is three to five yards wide. The athlete is placed in the middle
with the Flexicord connected to his left or right hip. A partner anchors the Flexicord
to provide resistance. A second partner is positioned in front of the athlete with a
dozen tennis balls. The drill begins when the partner begins tossing tennis balls inside
the square. It is the athlete’s job to keep the square clean of any debris. To accomplish
this the athlete must sprint to all four corners of the square, stop, change direction, and
react to the movement of the tennis balls. As the athlete moves he is resisted and assisted
by the pull of the Flexicord. In this example, the partner anchoring the Flexicord is moving
around the box during the repetition. This causes the direction of the Flexicord’s pull
to change throughout the repetition and forces the athlete to quickly compensate for the
changes as he moves. Athletes often have to sprint forward, stop,
and then transition into a backpedal. The Linear W Sprint uses Flexicord to isolate
and train this motion. This drill involves setting up cones in a W configuration with
about five yards of spacing between each cone. The athlete attaches the Flexicord to either
the front or back of the belt and a partner anchors the other end of the Flexicord 10
to 12 feet away from the athlete. The athlete initiates the drill by sprinting to the first
cone in the series. The athlete then plants at the cone and backpedals to the cone behind
it. As the athlete switches between sprinting and backpedaling the Flexicord is alternately
applying resistance and assistance. Note that the placement of the Flexicord on either the
front or back of the belt will determine whether resistance or assistance is applied to each
phase of the exercise. The Triangle Drill is unmatched at training
the change of direction speed needed by athletes competing in close quarters. Set this drill
up by placing three cones two to three yards apart in a triangle configuration. The athlete
begins facing the top point of the triangle with the Flexicord attached to his back and
his partner spaced 10 to 12 feet behind. The Flexicord should be taut but not fully stretched.
The athlete initiates the drill by sprinting around the bottom left-hand corner of the
triangle, then inside the bottom right-hand corner, back around the bottom left-hand corner,
and then back down the home stretch past the original starting point. The athlete should
aim to maintain as tight a path to the triangle as possible while dropping his hips in the
corners and accelerating in the straight-aways. Figure 8s is another drill designed to enhance
an athlete’s ability to quickly accelerate and change direction in small areas. This
drill begins by using cones to create two circles each approximately two yards in width.
The athlete begins at the top of the first circle with the Flexicord connected to his
hip and his partner positioned 10 to 12 feet away. The athlete initiates the drill by sprinting
into the first circle and then through the entire Figure 8 configuration. The partner
should move with the athlete throughout the entire drill and should pull the athlete out
of the final turn by jogging away from him. As with other drills that involve pathways,
the athlete should focus on staying low to the ground and generating rapid, powerful
turnover in the upper body. This change of direction drill incorporates
an element of reaction. The athlete begins with the Flexicord connected to the front
of his belt and his training partner positioned directly in front of him. Note that there
is slack in the Flexicord at the beginning of the drill. The athlete is positioned between
two cones spaced five yards apart with the third cone five yards directly behind it.
The athlete begins the drill by backpedaling to the cone behind him. During the backpedal
the partner will begin to move towards one of the original two cones the athlete was
positioned between. Once the athlete reaches the rear cone in his backpedal he must read
the direction of his partner’s movement and break out of his backpedal into a full-speed
sprint through the cone the partner moves towards. Note that the partner moves flat
towards one of the two cones and does not start moving away from the athlete until the
athlete begins his sprint through the cone.

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