These agility exercises can be used to develop speed and quickness in all kinds of sports. Along side a speed program they will help to improve your agility, speed of tought and co-ordination.
They differ from traditional speed training in that they incorporate a lot more lateral movement. Most team sports and individual sports like tennis and badminton call for higg levels of agility.
Agility exercises should be perfromed at the start of a session (but following a thorough warm up). They are not intended to be physically exhausting. They require a very high quality of work which is why they become much less effective if you have just completed a tough endurance or strength session!
Drill #1 – Figure Runs
Set out a course according to the diagram below. Cones are used to mark out a series of numbers in varying sizes. For large groups, split the team into groups of two or three and have each player run around the number or figure. Each player performs the figure once before moving onto the next figure. Soccer and hockey players can dribble a ball around the cones while football and rugby players can run with the ball to make the drill more sport-specific. Set out as many figures as you want and vary the heights so players are required to work over varying distances.
Drill #2 Agility T Drill
Set up a series of cones similar to the diagram below. The working player starts by sitting down cross legged. On the start command they run to their right and back, run backwards and back an then to the left and back at full speed. A server (yellow) can be added to throw a ball which the working must catch and throw back or volley back etc.
Drill #3 Sprint Lateral Shuffle
Set up a series of markers similar to the diagram below. Starting at the first marker sprint to the second marker and side step to the third marker. Continue until the end. Rest and repeat in the other direction so side steps lead with opposite foot.
Drill #4 Box Drill
Mark out a square approximately 10 meters/yards by 10 meters/yards. Place a cone in the center of the square. This is the starting position. Each corner is given a number or name. The coach or a training partner calls out a number or name at random and you must run to the corresponding corner and return to the center. As a variation two players can use the square at once. One player is labelled A and the other B. The coach calls out two numbers. Player A must run to the corner corresponding to the first number and player B to the second number. This drill sounds complicated but its easy to implement and its excellent for getting players to concentrate.
5-Count Ladder Drill
- Start with your feet hip width apart at the bottom of the ladder
- Step out to the right of the first square With your right foot immediately followed by placing your left foot into the first square.
- Bring your right foot along side your left in the first square then step into the second square with your left foot immediately followed by the right.
- Count these first five steps in a 1-2-3-4-5 manor.
- Reverse the sequence by stepping out to the right of the third square with your left foot.
- Repeat for the full length of the ladder.
Agility exercises are usually best performed in late pre-season training and during the in-season. Because they shouldn’t leave you feeling tired you can perform a short, sharp agility session the day before a match or competition. This will also help to improve your mental and physical alertness as the game draws closer.
Jacky has a degree in Sports Science and is a Certified Sports and Conditioning Coach. He has also worked with clients around the world as a personal trainer.
He has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of people from very different ends of the fitness spectrum. Through promoting positive health changes with diet and exercise, he has helped patients recover from aging-related and other otherwise debilitating diseases.
He spends most of his time these days writing fitness-related content of some form or another. He still likes to work with people on a one-to-one basis – he just doesn’t get up at 5am to see clients anymore.