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Agility

Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body in an efficient and effective manner and to achieve this you require a combination of:

  • Balance
    • The ability to maintain equilibrium when stationary or moving (i.e. not to fall over) through the coordinated actions of our sensory functions (eyes, ears and the proprioceptive organs in our joints)
    • Static Balance - ability to retain the centre of mass above the base of support in a stationary position
    • Dynamic Balance - ability to maintain balance with body movement
  • Speed
    • the ability to move all or part of the body quickly
  • Strength
    • the ability of a muscle or muscle group to overcome a resistance
  • Co-ordination
    • the ability to control the movement of the body in co-operation with the body's sensory functions e.g. catching a ball (ball, hand and eye co-ordination)

How do we improve agility?

We can improve our agility by improving the component parts of agility (listed above) and practicing them in training.

Agility Ladder

The main objective of agility ladder programs is to promote a wide range of different foot and movement patterns. Through practice these movements will become second nature and the body will be able to respond quickly to various sport specific movement patterns.

Ladder DrillsWith the use of an agility ladder we can improve our agility by practicing movement patterns in training. The standard ladder is 10 yards long with 18 inch squares but you can construct your own ladder using sticks, lino strips or tape.

When beginning an agility ladder program start with 2 to 4 drills and once you master these then introduce new drills.

Exercises

Detailed below are some ladder drills you could use.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Ladder Drills Exercise 1
  • Run through the ladder placing one foot in the middle of each square
  • Emphasize arm swing, powerful high knee drive with the toes dorsiflexed and quick ground contact
Ladder Drills Exercise 2
  • Run through the ladder touching both feet in each square.
  • Emphasize arm swing, powerful high knee drive with the toes dorsiflexed and quick ground contact.

Exercise 3

Ladder Drills Exercise 3a
Fig 3a
Ladder Drills Exercise 3b
Fig 3b
Ladder Drills Exercise 3c
Fig 3c
Ladder Drills Exercise 3d
Fig 3d
Ladder Drills Exercise 3e
Fig 3e
  1. Begin by standing sideways to the ladder (Fig 3a)
  2. Moving in a lateral fashion to your right, step into the first square with the right foot (Fig 3b)
  3. Step in with the left foot (Fig 3c)
  4. Step back out with the right foot (Fig 3d)
  5. Step back out with the left foot (Fig 3e)
  6. Repeat the sequence from 2 to 5 all the way along the ladder

    Exercise 4

    Ladder Drills Exercise 4a
    Fig 4a
    Ladder Drills Exercise 4b
    Fig 4b
    Ladder Drills Exercise 4c
    Fig 4c
    Ladder Drills Exercise 4d
    Fig 4d
    1. Perform the drill in a sideways position to the ladder (Fig 4a)
    2. Moving to the right, place the right foot into the first square (Fig 4b)
    3. Next, step across the ladder with the left foot (Fig 4c)
    4. Remove the right foot from the ladder placing it next to your left foot (Fig 4d)
    5. Now, step forward into the second square with the left foot
    6. Next, step across the ladder with the right foot
    7. Remove the left foot from the ladder placing it next to your right foot
    8. Repeat the sequence from 2 to 7 all the way along the ladder

    Exercise 5

    Ladder Drills Exercise 5a
    Fig 5a
    Ladder Drills Exercise 5b
    Fig 5b
    Ladder Drills Exercise 5c
    Fig 5c
    Ladder Drills Exercise 5d
    Fig 5d
    Ladder Drills Exercise 5e
    Fig 5e
    1. Start straddling one side of the ladder - right foot in the first square and your left foot outside of the ladder (Fig 5a)
    2. Do a jump to your right so your right foot stays in the ladder square and your left foot lands in the next ladder square (Fig 5b)
    3. Do a jump to your left so your left foot stays in the ladder square and your right foot lands outside the ladder (Fig 5c)
    4. Do a jump to your left so your left foot stays in the ladder square and your right foot lands in the next ladder square (Fig 5d)
    5. Do a jump to your right so your right foot stays in the ladder square and your left foot lands outside the ladder (Fig 5e)
    6. Repeat the sequence from 2 to 5 all the way along the ladder

Exercise 6

Ladder Drills Exercise 6a
Fig 6a
Ladder Drills Exercise 6b
Fig 6b
Ladder Drills Exercise 6c
Fig 6c
Ladder Drills Exercise 6d
Fig 6d
Ladder Drills Exercise 6e
Fig 6e
Ladder Drills Exercise 6f
Fig 6f
  1. Begin standing sideways to the ladder (Fig 6a)
  2. Step into the first square with the right foot (Fig 6b)
  3. Next, step over the ladder to the other side with the left foot (Fig 6c)
  4. Step with the right foot laterally to the next square (Fig 6d)
  5. Next, step over the ladder to the other side with the left foot (Fig 6e)
  6. Step with the right foot laterally to the next square (Fig 6f)
  7. Repeat the sequence from 3 to 6 all the way along the ladder

Exercise 7

As Exercise 6 but moving laterally with the left foot.

How do we measure agility?

There are a number of tests to measure an athlete's agility. They include:

Speed through a ladder can indicate much about an athlete's quickness. A time of less than 2.8 seconds for males and 3.4 seconds for females for running the length of a 20 rung ladder, one foot in each rung at a time, is considered as excellent for senior athletes.

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2000) Agility [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/agility.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page:

Stretching & Flexibility Book & DVD Stretching