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Youth Football Speed Development The Dot Drill

 


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The Dot Drill For Athletic Development

In the spring we do have a few pure plyometric drills that have no football component to them. These are drills we wouldn't do in the fall because we have yet to figure out exactly how to add a football component and make it a 2 for 1 type drill.

The Dot Drill
One of the most effective and common plyometric drill is the dot drill. It usually consists of a mat that has dots on it configured in a box with a dot at each corner of the box and one in the middle. The size of the box varies to the age and ability levels of the participants. There are a variety of drills you can do including just starting with your left foot to the near left corner dot of the box, your right foot on the near right corner dot and then bringing both feet to the center dot on a hop, then hop with the left foot touching the rear left dot, right foot on far right dot. Then coming back to the center with both feet, then back to the starting position and repeat. The goal is quickness, short bent knee hops with good form landings and don't forget to use your arms. You don't want to do any of these for more than 7 seconds as our goal is to simulate the duration of the typical youth football play which is 6-7 seconds. You can do a variety of drills using this concept, some of the mats you can plug in, they have colored lights that blink on to tell your player which dot he has to hop to next.

Most youth programs don't have the money to buy things like fancy dot maps, but you can improvise and get a very similar end result. We always have a can of field paint around. Field paint is a can of white paint that will wash off when it rains, most team sporting good stores carry it. One can costs about $4 and it will last the entire season.

Mark out the corners and center of your Dot Drill box with the field paint on the grass using numbers 1-5. At age 10-11 the first box has the numbers 2 feet apart, the second box has the numbers about 6 feet apart. On box 1 you can do the traditional dot drill as mentioned above. Some renditions of this drill also can include when getting to the back of the box jumping to turn the opposite direction and then coming back the starting point face first rather than backwards. Or you can hop from the starting point to the back of the box and skip the center dot etc.

The larger box gives you a lot more options on drills. If the numbers are set up like this:
4-5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
-3-. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1-2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You could tell the group to use the following sequence using a double foot hop: 1,3,4,5,2,1, The next one go 1.3,5,4,3,1 etc. On the last few reps see who has the athleticism by having them jump 1.4.5 and even back to 1. On this drill you want to make sure the player starts and lands his jumps with hit knees bent and uses his arms to propel himself upward and forward. This give you not only the jumping plyo movement but also a change of direction movement as well. Obviously you can do quite a bit with this drill and could even do lateral type jumps or one legged jumps if the distances were shortened. One way to add a small football component to this drill is to have your running backs hold a ball during the movement. However, this will impair his ability to use his arms to get height and distance.

The nice thing about a drill like this is this is one the kids can do at home and it doesn't take any special equipment with the exception of some spray paint. Again, don't overdo this type of thing during the season, but it is a great inexpensive off-season development tool for your kids.

Dave Cisar-

Dave has a passion for developing youth coaches so they can in turn develop teams that are competitive and well organized. He is a Nike “Coach of the Year" Designate and speaks nationwide at Coaches Clinics. His book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan" was endorsed by Tom Osborne and Dave Rimington.

For 325 of his Free Youth Football Coaching Tips: Youth Football

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