Jan 19, 2017
First Step Quickness
Dr. Jay Dawes

The Lifters Ball Drops Drill is excellent for improving response to visual stimulus and first-step quickness. The athlete and coach stand approximately five yards away from each other. The coach has a racquetball (or any ball that bounces). The athlete assumes an athletic position.

The coach holds the ball out to the side at shoulder height and then randomly drops it. As soon as the coach releases the ball, the athlete sprints toward it and catches it before it bounces twice (see photo at left). The athlete should catch the ball in a good athletic stance. The athlete may not dive for the ball to make up for poor reaction time.


The coach and athlete can use the following variations to make the drill more challenging:

  • Increase the distance between the athlete and the coach.
  • Have the athlete start from different stances (three-point stance, on a knee, on the belly, and so on).
  • The coach holds a ball on each side and drops only one. This requires the athlete to be aware of multiple focal points.
  • The coach holds two balls and assigns a number to each (or uses different colored balls). Then, the coach drops both simultaneously while calling out a number (or color) to indicate which ball the athlete should attempt to catch.

This article was originally published on the website of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is being used with permission from the organization.

Jay Dawes, PhD, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA, is an Assistant Professor of Strength and Conditioning and the Coordinator for Athletic Performance at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He has worked as a strength/performance coach, personal trainer, educator, and post-rehabilitation specialist for over 15 years, and continues to act as a performance consultant for the Colorado State Patrol.

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