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Attacking Limiting Factors: Footwork

Power-Athlete-footwork-drillsFootwork is a fundamental component to performance.  A misstep on the field could be as costly as a poorly executed approach on the court.  Every sport, from soccer to Olympic Weightlifting, puts a specific expectation on foot movement and placement.  Although each discipline requires different footwork skills, attacking the footwork limiting factor in training can be approached similarly across the whole spectrum of sports.

The purpose of footwork in training is for an athlete to learn the most advantageous position to dynamically display the required power necessary for the sport-movement or task.  The ability of an athlete to execute these tasks seamlessly and effortlessly often determines what level an athlete will reach in their respective sport.  Imagine a soccer player who is never able to take eyes off their feet while dribbling, or an Olympic lifter who always has to look down to check their foot position in a split jerk.

A loss of this footwork purpose occurs in training when athletes are tasked with acquiring complex sport-movement skills before mastering basic movement patterns and developing kinesthetic awareness of their foot position.  This misguided approach leads to frustrated athletes that just "don't get" a movement, and coaches ramble off wasted cues to the point of lost patience.  A different approach needs to be applied.

Common signs for footwork as a limiting factor include athletes consistently missing Oly lifts because of foot placement, weddings steps in lunges or step ups, wasted steps during change of direction, and even miss stepping a barbell out of the rack from a squat.

Within the purpose, there are three main objectives to accomplish when attacking this limiting factor in training:

1) Awareness
2) Balance
3) Coordination

These are attributes athletes of any sport can benefit from improving, and will put them in a position for rapid improvement in their sport-movement performance.  This article will breakdown the approach behind the ABC’s and present movements to implement into training no matter what an athlete is training for.  #ToesForward!


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Tex McQuilkin
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Tex McQuilkin

Director of Training at Power Athlete
Book a consult with me regarding coaching, training, life, education... anything your heart desires. Click below:

Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Tex McQuilkin
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Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

12 Responses to Attacking Limiting Factors: Footwork

  1. Perfect timing. I have a 6 week offseason starting soon. Will implement then.

  2. Awesome read. My footwork is S-L-O-W. Thanks for the drills and where to place them in my warmups or post wod. An easy add. One question: how many seconds….15 to 30 seconds for 3-5 times?

  3. Outstanding. The COD and LSA work is some of my favorite stuff that you guys put out. Perfect for some of the high school kids I’m beginning to work with. I definitely see a lot of poor foot position. Both in starting and especially in finishing movements and drills.

  4. @mcquilkin wondering about implementing this. How would it look, pre or post workout, on its own, duration of each movement, sets, etc… Right now I’m just running guys through it at about 10-15 seconds a movements for 3-4 tries..?

    • @train608,
      Just focus on one drill a day and spread them out to a couple a week, never the same plane or axis in the same week. If you have COD or Multiplane movement planned for the day, put it in the warm up those days.

      What are they training for? Stick in needed time domains, and move as fast and as long as you can stay perfect. If they’re training for football then slower feet and longer than :15 perfect is wrong. Think Fast 5 or Furious 7, not Jurassic Park 2. Too long, draggin out something wonderful until it all turns to shit. Something just long enough to challenge, fail, and yet still expand abilities. Am I right, @Luke?

      Challenging pace, preparing them for what they need and avoiding pitter-patter feet.

  5. JZ

    @mcquilkin the videos are not coming up or are “Private” for Lunge Jump Progressions, Pele’s, and Open Step Crossover Catch.

  6. I have two rugby players marked with a problem in this regard, both walk with the typical walk Duck obviously add stress to the universal athletic position is a problem for them, so as to receive the bar in power cleans, changes of directions etc … in other words, everything that means #toesforward. I started using the movements of these videos in warmups. Any additional recommendation?

  7. Pingback: Battle Training BS: Skill and Speed Resistance Training - TrainHeroic

  8. @mcquilkin for some reason all of the videos say, “sorry because of it’s privacy settings, this video cannot be played here” I’m logged in though, not sure if I’m doing something wrong?

  9. @john
    When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. #Toesforward
    -Jonathan Swift (squatted toes forward)

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