Agility drills: increased speed and power will boost your ability to express agility

Agility is crucial for all sports

By John Shepherd

Agility is crucial for all sports and is a derivative of speed, power and skill. Increased speed and power will boost your ability to express agility, while the mastery of perfect technique will make for world beating performance.


The drills in the video provide a snapshot of a multitude that are available to athlete and coach. All but one focuses on or around the floor or speed ladder. This is a simple piece of kit that can be purchased from specialist suppliers, or you could easily make your own by using tape or chalking markers on to a suitable training surface.

The exercises in the video

1) High knee lift through ladder

The high knee drill  and lateral ladder drill will improve foot speed and coordination. They will specifically boost the speed required for racket and field sport players and runners of all speeds.

Exercise tips:

  • Coordinate your arms with your legs and drive these backwards and forwards to boost your speed.
  • Push your legs back down toward the ground from the hips in a pistoning action.
  • Keep your chest elevated.
  • Land on the balls of your feet.

 See demonstration in video

2) Lateral step through ladder

A note on the lateral movement: even if your sport does not involve side to side movements, it is important to move over these planes of movement from an injury avoidance (pre-conditioning) stance. Lateral movements will bolster the ankle and knees in particular.

Exercise tips:

  • Lower your centre of gravity and step one foot in each rung of the ladder.
  • Keep on the balls of your feet and keep low.
  • Perform to left and right.

See demonstration in video

3) Low knee carry through ladder and 15m sprint

 This drill is designed to develop increased sprint cadence (leg speed).

Exercise tips: 

  • Gradually lengthen your stride as you leave the ladder, but try to maintain (and increase) your cadence.

See demonstration in video

4) Triangle hop

As indicated in the video, this drill will also precondition as well as improve agility. Pre-conditioning (also known as pre-training) is carried out in the background to your other training, to reduce injury, by relevantly training body parts that are susceptible to injury. The triangle hop will develop dynamic leg strength and increase knee and ankle resilience. It is therefore invaluable for field and racket sport players who have to make quick changes of direction and landings.

Make your own floor ladder

It is possible to make your own 20-rung floor ladder using tape or sticks. The distance between the rungs should be about 35cm and they should be 30cm long.

Speed through a floor ladder can indicate much about a player’s quickness. A time of less than 2.8 seconds and 3.4 seconds through a 20-rung ladder, one foot in each rung at a time, for example, is regarded as ‘excellent’ for college males and female athletes, respectively.


How to incorporate agility training into your work outs

You can include agility drills in your dynamic warm-ups. Use a full recovery so that you can put maximum effort into them. For an even more sports-specific effect, you could include a relevant sports skill in your practice. For example, a rugby player could pick up a ball at the end of floor ladder drill and sprint 10m.

 

Want to learn more about agility?
Look out for the interactive Peak Performance special report, ‘How to Improve your Agility’. This 5,000 word report, written by John Shepherd, includes numerous training tips to improve your agility and also includes specially designed work outs.  Coming soon!

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