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How can I improve my ability to redirect myself from a backpedal?

The ability to quickly transition from a backpedal to a forward sprint is essential for a soccer defender.  It is also as equally important to be able to quickly go from a forward sprint to a backpedal.  One drill that will help is the M-drill.  In the M-drill, you are going to cover a good amount of ground with your backpedal and sprints.  First, place five cones in the shape of a capital M.  The cones should be about five yards apart.   Begin the drill at the bottom left corner of the M.  Sprint towards the cone in front of you.  Properly decelerate by stopping under control at the cone before changing directions.  You should stop for about 2 seconds. Then, back pedal towards the cone behind you, decelerate, and stop.  Work your way through the entire series of cones.  Repeat the drill again stating from the right side.  Complete 3 to 4 sets going each way. Continue to work the M-drill like this until you are able to execute the drill at full speed while maintaining stability and balanced stops.  When you are ready, you can eliminate the stop at each transition and change your direction as rapidly as possible.  Dropping your center of balance and quickening your feet and hands when approaching the cones will help you to balance yourself before changing directions.   

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