The Lateral Fast Feet speed ladder drill can be used by all athletes to improve synergy of the neuromuscular system, footwork, body control and coordination.
During the Lateral Fast Feet speed ladder drill the focus is on improving neural pathways (nervous system signal transmission) to enhance overall neuromuscular system efficiency since improvements of the neuromuscular system will allow the athlete to move faster on the tennis court.
In particular we want to improve the quick start footwork sequence when rushing sideways. This applies when moving sideways along the baseline during ground strokes.
First you have to emphasize perfect movement mechanics of the Speed Ladder Drill to improve movement economy and hence maximize foot speed because we don’t want to “waste” any energy for undesirable movements.
Once you can perform the Lateral Fast Feet Speed Ladder Drill in perfect form you want to increase the speed until you can execute it at maximum velocity before you progress onto the advanced- and professional level (explained below).
Because you are holding a tennis racquet in your hands while moving on the tennis court upper body movement mechanics (arms) don’t have to be in sync with lower body movement mechanics (legs) for maximum performance improvements and hence can be neglected.
Lateral Fast Feet Speed Ladder Drill Description
- Stand sideways in front of the 1st rung
- Place both feet inside each square, starting with the left or right foot
- Keep body weight on the balls of the feet (toes)
- Progress down the ladder in a rapid fashion while looking at the feet
Lateral Fast Feet Speed Ladder Drill Progressions
If you use additional weights…make sure you use appropriate weight so you can control the action throughout the entire range of motion. Otherwise you defeat the purpose of the exercise.
Very often, people use too much resistance and they become sloppy. Especially when it comes to maintaining dynamic stability and hitting in the same spots repetitively.
Also, don’t just progress with adding more weight. First, maximize the speed while maintaining perfect form. Next extend the length of the speed ladder.
Increasing the length of the speed ladder makes it more challenging for the nervous system!
Here are the progression levels:
- Beginner: look at your feet while moving through the speed ladder
- Advanced: look forward while moving through the speed ladder
- Professional: look forward & track an object (e.g, coach) while moving through the speed ladder
Related Speed Ladder Drills
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