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Speed, Agility and Quickness Drills

By Ken Kashubara

A natural athlete cannot usually dominate without training hard for a sport. These athletes need to increase speed, agility and quickness because the lesser athlete can close the athletic gap with hard work and determination. Every participant needs to learn different types of drills and perform them with good form and in consideration to the types of movements needed in a specific sport. Do so and the results will be dramatic.


Speed kills on the field, court and in the ring. Take two athletes with the same approximate size and determination. While one athlete may be technically more efficient, the faster athlete can overcome a small difference in skill if he or she is faster and quicker. While it is still vastly important for every athlete to learn proper technique and have an iron will, speed can make up for small mistakes.


Skip drills, high knees, butt kicks and bounding exercises are a few drills coaches use to increase an athlete's speed. These drills can be performed without specialized equipment. Coaches and athletes can buy rip cords and chutes to provide resistance during sprinting. Shuttle runs and change of direction drills increase an athlete's agility and quickness without the need for equipment. Cones are a favorite tool used to increase agility and quickness. One piece of equipment that can be used to increase speed, agility and quickness is the agility ladder (pictured above).


Athletes need to learn the drills slowly before trying to go full speed. Start off slowly until the body learns the movement. As the athlete becomes more comfortable, he can begin to increase speed of movement until he is able to safely complete each exercise as fast as possible.


Speed, agility and quickness drills increase rate of force production within the muscles. This means that when performing a movement, the brain receives sensory information and is able to produce a motor unit response in a short period of time. Increases in speed, agility and quickness are as much improvements of the nervous system as they are improvements of muscles.


Consider the qualities specific to the selected sport when choosing speed, agility and quickness drills. Think about what exercises are similar to the specific competition and do them. Consider the demand, as some sports demand more straight-ahead speed, and others rely on side-to-side quickness. Take the direction of the movement in the sport; for example, a basketball player needs to be able to get vertical. And when choosing speed, agility and quickness drills, think about the region of force production. A speed skater needs to concentrate her efforts on building power in the hips and thighs.

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