Exercises for Increasing First-Step Quickness | Arena Sports Factory

Posted by Andrew Patterson on April 3, 2019

As a developing athlete, your sport-specific knowledge is growing and you know the game like the back of your hand.  But something is still missing for you to elevate your game - the speed you know you have!  How can you increase your first-step quickness, dominate the person in front of you, and play at the level you are capable of? It's easier than you think.

What if I told you that a key to speed is the spring and power generated from the ankle?   Think about it (I mean, really think about it). The ankle joint absorbs impact first and is the first joint to generate movement once the play begins.   Therefore if you are unable to properly load the ankle, you guessed it - you begin the movement slower than anticipated.

Now if your first-step was faster and more efficient by getting you to top speed in a less amount of time, would you be able to create a greater impact on the field? Of course you would!   Let’s dive into a drill that you can easily do at home or before practice that will put you on the fast track to developing your speed!

Exercise: Pogo Jumps

  1. Stand tall and stiff - arms at a 90-degree angle with hands directly in front of chest.
  2. Shift bodyweight slightly to front half of the feet.
  3. Lock in your ankles and begin hopping in place. This should feel like a spring effect from the ankle.
  4. During Pogo:
    1. Stay stiff and toes pointed forward, NEVER point toes down to the ground.
    2. Core remains braced.
    3. Ankle should act as a tight spring and create a “popping off” effect from the front half of the foot.
  5. SETS: 5   REPS: 25 seconds/set


  1. Pogo in Place – Right into in place knee drive.
  2. Moving Pogos: Maintain form and focus on the pogo, not how fast you move forward.
  3. 5-yard Moving Pogo right into a spring loaded 10-yard sprint.

There you have it!  If you'd like to see a video of this in action, email me below! 


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Andrew Patterson

Andrew Patterson

Andrew is the Sports Performance Director & a Coach at The Arena Sports Factory. Andrew has trained athletes at all levels from youth to professional level.

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