Three Ways to Increase Reaction Time

September 1, 2010 | Featured in the September, 2010 Issue

Must See Speed Videos

Keep your cuts above the rest by performing these advanced reaction time exercises, which use cues to optimize your ability to change direction efficiently.

Cognitive Reaction Time Exercises

Four-Cone Color Reaction Drill

  • Create box using four colored cones spread five yards apart (or use cones with colored paper)
  • Assume athletic position at center
  • React to partner’s color command and sprint to appropriate cone
  • Plant feet and touch cone
  • Sprint to center of box and react to partner’s next command
  • Continue for specified duration

Sets/Duration: 4x30 seconds

Audible Reaction Time Exercises


  • Create a T using four cones spread five yards apart; partner stands at top of T just beyond middle cone
  • Sprint to middle cone and react to partner’s verbal command (“left,” “right” or “back”), shuffling left, right or backpedaling to start cone
  • Shuffle or sprint to middle cone and react to partner’s next command
  • Repeat for specified duration

Sets/Duration: 4x30 seconds

Visual Reaction Time Exercises

Tennis Ball Explosive Starts

  • Assume sport-specific start position with partner standing five yards in front holding tennis ball in hand with arm raised to side
  • Explode into sprint as soon as ball drops
  • Bend at hips to catch ball off one bounce
  • Continue 10 yards after catch Increase distance from partner for each rep

Sets/Reps: 1x6 with 40 seconds rest

Related Exercises

Tennis Ball Explosive Starts
Four-Cone Color Reaction Drill
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
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