Let’s start with some definitions:
Speed – The rate at which a distance is covered
Agility – The ability to change the body’s position quicklyRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
So you are playing sport and these words go through your head…faster, quicker, first one there, beat me to it…you want to have more speed, it would be great to be more agile, well don’t fear these drills will help!
Let’s start simply:
Being supple and having good range of movement is the first step you need to take! Use a foam roller to loosen of tight areas of muscle for as long as it takes to feel a difference and perform progressively intense stretches on necessary areas.
2) Movement Preparation
Is your body ready to work in top gear if it’s needed to? Simple body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, press ups, jumps, skips and hops are a great way on increasing body temperature and activating (switching on) the muscles allowing you to move quickly or with full intent whilst reducing your chance of injuring something.
How much force can you produce? Performing weighted compound, multi-joint, multi-mucle exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups, press, pulls and rotations will increase your muscles rate of force development and therefore power capacity which is vital for increasing speed.
Top 3 speed drills:
1) 5m, 10m and 20m sprints
Think about how often you actually work at a max intensity when you train, when was the last time you went as fast as you can in training? Simply repeating sprints with maximum intent over these distances for 4-6 reps with walk back recovery will enable your to repeat this in a sports setting more efficiently more often.
How good is your acceleration and high speed running technique? Leaning against a wall at 45 degrees and sprinting on the spot for 4-6 reps will improve your leg drive ability and train your trunk muscles to be stronger in those positions.
This training concept is loved by some and hated by others! Use a bungee belt, strength band or even a large rolled up towel. Get a partner to hold it whilst you sprint 5m as fast as your can for 4 reps against the resistance. For the last 2 take it away and sprint as normal. You will feel a lot faster very quickly as your body is moving faster than it is used to, producing more power than normal to overcome the resistance that is no longer there.
Top 3 agility drills:
1) Zig zag cone run
Set out 6 cones 10m apart and at 45 degrees from each other so they are in a linearly diagonal, zig-zag position. Sprint from the first to last one as fast as possible. Rest at the end and come back the other way. Repeat for 4-6 reps then rest until you feel ready to go again.
2) Compass drill
Set out 5 different coloured cones in a north, south, east, west position, each 10m apart with one in the centre. Get a partner to shout out a colour then sprint to it and back to the middle as fast as possible. Repeat 4-6 times then rest until you feel ready to go again.
3) Play other sports
This may sound obvious but the best way to gain sports specific agility is to play as many sports as you can! You will be tested in different positions, at different speeds over different distances and have to perform specific skills under pressure. Particularly challenging ones are football, tennis, squash, netball, hockey and basketball! Why not try something new and treat it as a training session?!
The right balance of everything is key in life and sport!
Focus on mobility, then movement, then strength. Once you’re happy with these qualities try out the above speed and agility drills with friends. Start easy and build up to higher intensities but most importantly of all have fun and enjoy it!
Connect with Expert Ryan Blake.