Improve lateral speed and power and be a better football player by incorporating lateral lunges (with or without dumbbells), lateral bounding, lateral step ups (with or without dumbbells) and lateral shuffles (with or without resistance) in your workouts.
Straight-line speed is important but so is lateral speed and agility in football. You have to move quickly and efficiently from linear to lateral positions (and back again) many times during a practice or game.
The lateral lunge forces you to decelerate movement through one hip at a time, placing greater emphasis on the gluteals and hamstrings. It trains you to move correctly in the lateral direction. Many knee ACL injuries occur when you place too much stress on your knees and not enough stress on your hips during deceleration. In other words, the hips are often under-used during football games.
Lateral bounding is a progression from lateral lunges that requires you to practice lateral movement at game-time speed. Do not progress to full-speed lateral bounding until the proper mechanics are achieved with lateral lunges. One common mechanical breakdown is when the knees protrude far in front of the feet when decelerating, landing or squatting. This puts undue stress on the knees and often causes injury.
Lateral shuffles (with or without resistance) also work well to train correct lateral movement. Lateral shuffles without resistance can be practiced at game-time speed.
Lateral step ups emphasize development of your hips, quadriceps (especially outer) and glutes.
Any serious athletic exercise program would be incomplete without these exercises. They can be performed as strength or power (high speed) moves.