Football Ladder Drills

American football field. image by Sandra Henderson from

Speed and agility are two of the top skills a football player needs. Speed is the ability to cover ground as quickly as possible while agility refers to your ability to change directions. To do both effectively you need to include training exercises that help build these skills. One way to do this is through speed ladder drills.

This drill helps you to improve your ability to change directions quickly. Stand at one end of the speed ladder facing sideways. Step with your lead foot into the first opening and bring your back foot into the same hole. Follow the same stepping pattern, as quickly as possible, down the ladder. Repeat facing the opposite direction.


Stand at one end of the ladder and jump into the first ladder hole, landing only on your left foot. As quickly as possible, jump off your left foot into the next opening. Land on both feet and again jump into the next spot in the ladder; but this time land only on your right foot. Continue this maneuver until you reach the end of the ladder.

In and Out

Increase the difficulty level with drills that require both forward and sideways movement, such as the in-and-out drill. From the bottom of the ladder, step into the first opening with your left foot; then your right. Quickly step outside the second square to the left, with your left foot; and then step outside the second square to the right, with your right foot. Step into the third square first with your left foot, then your right. Continue this maneuver until you reach the end of the ladder.

Tango Drill

Based on the dance of the same name, the tango drill challenges your coordination, incorporating forward and lateral steps while also calling for you to cross your legs over each other while changing direction. Stand to the speed ladder's left side and step your left foot in front of your right and into the first opening. Bring your right foot across and place it to the right of the ladder. Step your left foot from inside the ladder to the right of it as quickly as you can. With both feet on the right side, step your right foot across your left and place it in the second ladder opening. Move your left foot left of the ladder with your right following right behind. Repeat this pattern for the ladder's entire length.

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