Improving yourself as an athlete can mean many different things based on your age or sports you play. Some sports require increasing your bat speed, or working on your hand eye coordination to catch a ball. Others are perfecting their running form to cut a couple seconds off their mile time, or in the gym until it closes shooting baskets. Regardless of your sport participation, we all need to improve our agility and athletic ability. Our performance and movements should become natural on the field or court.
Developing a regular habit to sharpen these skills can be just as important as the sport specific skills that athletes practice regularly. Below are 10 great agility and body control drills for 2021 that can help you tap into your athletic potential!
*All exercises also include affordable equipment options to get you started on your drills today!*
This is a classic athletic performance speed & agility drill. Keep your running track tight to the cones, and develop excellent change of direction. Watch demo video here.
● Set your cones up for the “L” drill or 3 cone drill
● Start at the line in a sprinter stance
● Once you touch the line, return to the start cone, and touch the lines with the same hand
● Immediately turn and sprint back around the center cone towards the far cone, stay as tight to the cone as you can.
● Circle the far cone as tight as you can, and finish by returning to the starting cone, again staying as tight as you can to the center cone.
The Dot Drill is an excellent agility training exercise for multiple sports. Tennis, soccer, racquetball, basketball, and many other sports require quick and efficient change of direction. This drill also demands the ability to stop on a dime and control the body’s force and transfer it to the new direction. There are many variations to the drill, similar to a speed ladder, so challenge yourself and get creative! Here is an example of a progressive dot drill exercise.
Speed Ladder Variations
Using the speed ladder on a weekly or even daily basis will deliver great results for your running form and well as your explosive power with both your upper body and lower body. With the basic high knee exercise, drive your feet with 80%-90% effort, as if you were running near top speed. You can mix it up with two feet or one foot per square in the ladder. Remember to focus on your arm action just as much as your legs! Video Demo.
Plyometric exercises can provide challenging drills and efficiently improve your coordination, balance, and dexterity. Use small agility hurdles that are 1-3 feet apart, depending on the athlete, and execute drills similar to the speed ladder. The great thing about these hurdles is it requires you to drive your legs up, usually generating more power, but most importantly keeping you upright! When athlete’s legs get tired they have a tendency to drag their feet, don’t let this be you. Watch demo video here.
Lateral Plyometric Jumps
Now we are going to progress to lateral Plyometric Jumps. Body control, balance, explosive power and core control are all a major focus on this exercise! It is important to make these jumps challenging, forcing your lower body and core to react and control quickly and ultimately create a very efficient balancing ability in athletic performance. Can also incorporate a resistance band into this exercise, video here.
Running lines, suicides, down & backs, and many other names that you may be familiar with all represent the fun, and sometimes dreaded, shuttle run. Shuttle runs can vary on distance, usually 25 yards - 60 yards being the preferred distance. This drill is simple but very demanding and effective if you push yourself and push that pedal to the metal. There should be top speed effort and expanding your stride as much as possible. Pair this with an aggressive arm pump and get flying down the line! Can also pair sprints with a parachute to increase resistance!
Your lateral movement drills can vary in speed, as well as distance. We can develop great ankle strength and support with proper lateral movement, especially when we are coupling the exercises with our plyometric lateral jumps listed earlier. Lateral movement efficiency is a huge advantage on the field or the court, and is relevant in defensive tactics in basketball, football, and soccer. Example video here.
This is a particular favorite exercise here at The Athletic Academy, as we are able to combine power, strength, and agility training all packed into an exciting leap. Box jumps are your golden ticket for rotational sports such as Golf, Baseball, Softball, and Tennis, generating both balance, power, control, and range of motion with your body torque. A simple forward box jump is also great for lower body strength development and explosiveness for sprinters, Football, and Volleyball! Video demo.
Similar to our box jumps above, practicing a 180-degree jump either in place or back and forth over an agility ladder is another great way to develop core control, balance, and velocity with your body as you change direction. See how aggressively and powerful you are able to push your 180 jumps while keeping your balance! Can even try these with ankle weights for a challenge. Demo video here.
Single Leg Zig Zag Drill
The “Skating” drill is another name for our single leg zig zag drill. For this exercise, we would challenge you to pause slightly on each Zig and Zag as you jump at a 45-degree angle across the court or field. Imagine a speed skater position, with a low waist and sinking hips low to the ground. Correctly executing this drill will add hip mobility, durability, and power, along with a major focus in single leg balance. Video demo here.
FULL Agility Set
This sports training set includes an Agility Ladder, 6 Yellow Disc Cones, 1 Resistance Parachute, 4 Steel Stakes and a Drawstring Bag all at a value price. Improve balance, agility, speed, reflexes, and explosiveness with this sports training set.
FREE Agility Template
Download our 10-exercise agility development for increased mobility, balance, agility, and power! This program is excellent for ALL athletes! Whether you are on the basketball court, at a tennis match, running hurdles, or making a sliding stop at shortstop, this program will guide you towards improved body control, athletic performance and growth!
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