Diamond Reaction Passing Drill
Avoid Slow and Frustrating Starts to Games by Using this Drill During Warm Ups
Do your teams ever have sluggish starts and you wish you could wake them up!?!?
Every coach has experienced this problem... some more so than others.
We found a simple solution to the problem.
The key is to get your players both physically and mentally warmed up with the proper drills. Most warm up drills will get players physically warm. However very few get players MENTALLY locked in.
The mental stimulation is key.
So choose drills that mentally challenge your players and get them locked in. Here's an example of a drill that thoroughly warms players up both physically and mentally. . .
Diamond Reaction Passing Drill
Scott picked up the drill from a national championship youth soccer team -- they used the drill before each game and it worked. . .
This team was known for fast starts -- almost always scoring their first goal within 2 minutes of the match!
This passing drill is not only a great skill drill but also requires quick decision making -- waking up the mind and getting the heart rate up.
This is a proven pre-game warm up drill that helps teams get off to fast starts! It will get players warmed up and mentally locked in for a fast start.
It can also be used as a skill building drill during practice.
Part 1 - Cut to Right
There are several variations of this drill. This is the simplest variation to start with.
You need four players in a diamond shape. Designate a "runner". In the diagrams, player 4 is the runner.
The runner will run toward the ball, receive the pass, and pass right back.
The runner then cuts to the right. The player in the right spot must then move to the open spot.
The receiver must pass the opposite direction to get the ball across from the runner again.
You can see in this diagram the ball is now across from the runner again and you are ready to repeat the sequence.
The runner (4) runs to the ball, receives a pass, and passes right back.
The runner (4) then immediately cuts to the right. Player 1 then moves to the open spot.
And player 3 passes to player 2 (the opposite direction of the runner). This pass balances the drill as the ball always need to start across from the runner.
Once the runner gets a few reps, designate a new runner. Continue until every players gets a chance to be the runner. You can rotate after a set amount of time, set number of passes, or when you feel they are ready.
You can see our 9 year old girls running the drill for the first time here:
These were some of the better reps and as you can see there is a lot of hesitation and thought. Even the most basic version of this drill is mentally challenging. . . especially for young kids.
But as you can see, the speed picks up in this video. . .
Here are some middle school players running the drill on day 2 of our athletic development camp. (These players are cutting either left or right, as explained in part two below).
As you can see they are running the drill much faster. Yet with experience, improved skilled and better reaction times, the drill can be run much faster.
The faster the better.
One key is for the runner to quickly check in and out without hesitation. And make quick passes. This will make the drill move quickly. The runner is key!
Part 2 - Cut Left or Right
Once players get comfortable with the basic version of the drill, you can progress to this more challenging version of the drill.
Now the drill is exactly the same, however, the runner can cut to either the left or the right.
The passer now has to make a quick read and pass the opposite direction the runner cuts to. And the other players need to fill the empty spots.
This is where the mental stimulation starts kicking in. You have to make reads and decisions.
Key to the Drill
The key is for the runner to cut in and back out very quickly. . . without hesitation. The faster the better.
You can add variations to the drill by requiring bounce passes only, no look passes only, and allow players to use creative passes (behind back, through legs, etc).
You can set goals for players and challenges groups of 4 during practice. See which group can complete the most passes without a mistake in 1 minute.
More passing drills: 21 Basketball Passing Drills - For Coaches
What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...