The coach needs five minutes to set up the 10 cones in a channel (Fig 1). When coaching a squad of more than 15 we suggest setting up two channels side by side. Activate is comprised of three phases:
Phase 1: Running, Cutting and Landing Mechanics – 5 x 2
Five drills are completed in which the first part is performed moving out through the centre of the channel, and the second part returning down the sides of the channel. Each drill is performed twice.
Phase 2: Strength, Plyometrics and Balance – 10 x 10
There are two circuits: 1 and 2 which should be rotated every month. Squads carry out Circuit 1 for one month before progressing to Circuit 2 in which several of the exercises are more dynamic or require greater strength.
Upon completion of Circuit 2 for one month, squads should then alternate monthly between circuits 1 and 2. This is in order to return the players’ focus to the control and perfection of technique required in the Circuit 1 exercises.
Phase 3: Agility and Power – 5 x 2
Five drills are completed: three moving out through the central channel and returning down the sides, and two performed on the base line.
All three phases of Activate should be implemented before training with only phases 1 and 3 necessary before games. Once completed, the coach can then deliver any preferred drills or small-sided games at full pace. Whilst Activate contains a dynamic flexibility component, the coach can add any other specific stretching/flexibility exercises to the routine.
Remember: Allowing players to carry out the exercises without feedback and accepting poor technique will not reduce injuries. Time spent early in the season perfecting technique will produce greater athleticism and reduced injury frequency later in the year.