Training Methods to Improve Agility
Certain exercises can be used to develop speed, quickness and agility in all sports. Agility exercises incorporate a significant amount of lateral movement. Team sports like football, basketball, soccer and ice hockey require a great deal of agility. Do agility drills before the start of a workout. These exercises require concentration, effort and some hand-eye coordination.
Sit in the middle of the field with your legs crossed. Five yards to your left, your right and behind you will be a cone -- three in total. On the coach's whistle, get up and sprint 5 yards to the right to a cone. As you travel to the cone, a teammate will throw a ball to you that you must catch on the move. After catching it, run backwards to the starting position and drop the ball. Then run five yards to the left, to a cone, catch another ball and backpedal to the starting position. Then run backwards to the cone behind you, catching the ball as you go. This will improve your agility and hand-eye coordination.
Lateral Sprint Drill
Perform the lateral sprint drill in an area with lots of space; like a high school sports field. Stand in the middle of the field. Sprint 10 yards, then go 10 yards to the right, sprint 10 yards straight and then 10 yards to the right. Keep doing this drill until you have run five straight sprints and five lateral sprints. Take a 30-second break and repeat the drill.
This is one of the oldest football drills and it translates to all sports. Line up 10 tires in a 2-by-5 configuration. Sprint through the tires by putting your feet in the holes in the center of the tires. Try not to hit, kick or trip over the inner edges of the tires. When finished, go back to the starting point and run three more routes through the tires. Take a 1-minute break and then repeat the set.
Ladder drills will improve your side-to-side agility. Stand at one end of the ladder, off to the left, for the lateral feet drill. Step your left foot into the first opening and then step your right foot into the opening beside it. Cross your left foot over your right and step your left foot out of the opening first, just to the right of the first opening; then step your right foot out, beside it. Next, step your left foot into the second opening of the ladder and step your right foot into the opening beside it. Cross your right foot over your left foot to step to the outside of the ladder on the left and then step your left foot out beside it. Then continue the sequence for the rest of the ladder. When your agility and side-to-side agility has improved you can increase your speed.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.