girl running backwards

4 Tips For Greater Backwards Acceleration

Simply Google ‘Acceleration’ and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of articles. Type Google  Backwards Acceleration and you will find a completely different response.

If we look at athletes that play sports, like basketball, tennis, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, etc., you will notice that players often become disorganized when traveling backwards.

Moving backwards isn’t typically a primary skill in court and field sports, however; it is the one skill that can make a huge difference in play making.

Tip #1 Decide Sooner than Later

One of the biggest problems I see in sports, like tennis, baseball, and softball, is players don’t predict soon enough. Therefore, they are always trying to catch up versus making a quick retreating jump for a play. They need to have the ability to open the hips, push off hard to escape space, and accelerate to make a play

Tip #2 Stay Forward to Go Backward

This is not a typo! It means keep the shoulders forward and pivot around the center of mass with hips back and shoulders forward. This allows the athlete to load properly and push forward while staying athletic and balanced. If the shoulders pop up and back, as if falling back during a backpedal, nothing good comes from this. The hips don’t load, balance is off, and accelerate is an afterthought. At this point not falling becomes the priority. ‘Stay in the Tunnel’, stay forward, and accelerate through the shoulders.

Tip #3 Backpedal When Unsure & Hip Turn When Certain

When still reading the play but fairly sure you are going to have to back-up, it is wise to perform a controlled backpedal while you read. Once you are certain of where the play is going, Hip Turn quickly, escape space, and perform either a lateral run. Or, turn and sprint based on the speed of the play. Tip #1 is about deciding sooner than later. Remember not to run if there has been no direct reason to turn and run. Simply backpedal, read and stay positioned to Hip Turn and explode when needed.

Tip #4 Practice Drills

Practice drills where your head and eyes delay turning and stay focused on where you are coming from. Practice getting the head and eyes turned quickly. Both are important because being able to move with “blind” footwork and sighted footwork is just a part of athletics.

Backwards acceleration is as much about prediction and preparation as it is technique. As always, if technique is bad then nothing good usually comes. Remember to work on technique as well. 

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