One of my favorite tools to use to introduce how to move the feet from under the center of mass is the Low Box series. The other great use of Low Box Training is the introduction of quick plyometric exercises. Here is a workout I often use with athletes to get them moving better.
Lee Taft Warm Up System:
- Foam roll of some kind- you can use a stick, ball or roller to reduce the muscle tension/knotting.
- Corrective stretching – if needed in areas of tightness or imbalance.
- Activation- turns on posterior chain, hip flexors, and lateral hips, as well a core and upper and lower body.
- Dynamic movements- slow controlled movements such as elbow lunges, lateral lunge walks, skipping, carioca or shuffling.
Balance and Stability Training Using Low Boxes:
Use 4-6 inch Low Box
- Forward leap from right foot to left foot onto the box and hold the landing for two seconds. The landing should be just like a landing off a vertical jump, except on one leg. Perform 5 reps on each leg.
- Lateral leap and hold. Same exercise as forward leap except now you perform it laterally. Perform 5 reps on each leg.
Multiple Box Routine:
Use 4-8, 4-6 inch Low Boxes
- Jumps- start with a controlled jump on and off each box as you travel over all boxes in a row. Hold each landing, on and off the box, so the coach can check technique. Use proper arm swing. Perform 4 times through.
- Quick Jumps- same routine except jumps are quick off the box and floor. Perform 4 times through each box.
- Hops- this is for athletes prepared for single leg hops. Just like in the jumps, each landing is controlled and held for a moment so technique can be checked. Perform 1-2 sets on each leg.
- Quick Hops- perform 1-2 sets of quick hops on an off each box.
Now that the athletes nervous system is primed and ready to explode after the low level quick plyos, let’s work acceleration. It is important to note that if there were too many reps performed on the low box plyo exercises, the nervous system might be tired and not be able to fire up. However, the routine above is at a lower level and is great to prepare for the athlete.
- Ball Drops- Coach stands 10-12 feet (more or less) holding two tennis balls out at shoulder level. When the coach drops one of the balls the athlete must accelerate and catch it before the secone bounce. The coach can have the athlete in various stances (parallel, staggered, facing backward, sideways, half kneeling…) perform a total twelve reps (four straight, four sideways- two each, four backward using Hip Turn).
- Chase Game for Acceleration: Put the acceleration skills to work by having a fun but competitive game. Here is one game I like to use to work on acceleration and competition. I call it “Race through the Gate”.
Here is how you play…
Have two athletes stand side-by-side in a parallel stance and two cones are placed side-by-side three feet apart (only enough room for one athlete to get through). On the coaches signal the athlete must race to see who gets through the gate first. The athlete will need to use their body to get in front of the other athlete. Not illegal pushing or tripping, but contact will occur. Perform 5 reps.
At this point, athletes would be given a short break and then go on to strength training.
The focus of the above workout is to use great technique on all skills and be as explosive as possible when required. The slower controlled jumps and landings do not require great explosiveness, just more control.
Important! Low Box Training Tip
Before using the Low Box Training, make sure the athletes understand the technique of jumping and landing. It doesn’t matter that the exercises are at a fairly low level. Technique has to be executed first.
For even more exercises with progressions to increased footwork, quickness, coordination, deceleration techniques, and explosive training, check out Low Box Training for Speed.