Get Quick With an Agility Progression Sequence, Part 2

June 4, 2011

Gaining agility and quickness for game-time situations involves many components. True agility isn’t just moving at different speeds in different directions; it’s moving in all directions with great speed in response to a stimulus.

In Part 1 of this agility series, we addressed simple change-of-direction drills—closed [or set pattern] drills that use anticipation and pattern recognition. Here, in Part 2, we provide more advanced change-of-direction drills to help you further develop your agility.

Level 2 – Intermediate Agility

These change-of-direction drills focus on mechanics, body position and first-step explosiveness. Cones or other markers are used to form set patterns for you to run.

Cone Zigzag [On-Field Cutting Drill]

Set up cones in a zigzag pattern with cone A at the start and cone B five to seven yards away and two to three yards to the right. Set up cone C five to seven yards away from cone B and two to three yards to the left [lined up with cone A]. Place a total of eight to 10 cones in this pattern.

• Sprint from cone A to cone B, taking one step past cone B
• Drop hips, stop, plant and turn hips to backpedal toward cone C
• Repeat pattern for all cones

Front and Backpedal Break Drill

• Mark a starting line
• Sprint five to seven yards off the line
• Stop and Backpedal three to four yards; then plant and sprint forward five to seven yards
• Repeat pattern continuously for set distance
• Explode in and out of breaks
• 2x40 yards, with 45 second rest between sets

Arrow Drill

Perform enough sets and reps of this drill, with sufficient rest, so that it works quickness and is not just a conditioning drill.

• Mark a starting line
• Sprint forward; have a coach or teammate give verbal or visual cue to break to the left or right
• When cue is given, plant, open hips, turn and sprint back at a 45-degree angle either left or right

Pro Agility Run

• Set up three cones five yards apart
• Start at middle cone in three-point stance, feet shoulder-width apart, head up, and one hand on the ground
• Have a coach or teammate cue you to go either left or right; run in that direction
• Plant, touch the ground and sprint 10 yards in opposite direction to far cone
• Plant, touch the ground and sprint five yards back to middle cone

Coaching Point: To add variation for an advanced drill, have a coach/teammate give a verbal or visual cue to change direction before you get to a cone. This causes you to react to the cue instead of the cone.

Hula Hoop Drill

Mark a circle on the ground 10 feet in diameter [you can use PVC pipes hooked together]

• Set up cones in different spots five to 10 yards away from circle
• On command, run around the circle, staying on the edge of your feet
• On a command and direction cue, break out of run and sprint to indicated cone

Figure 8 Drill

Make two small rings, using hula hoops or other material.

• Set up cones in different spots five to 10 yards away from the hoops
• Run around the first hoop, then sprint around the second hoop in the opposite direction, making a Figure 8 pattern around the two hoops
• On cue, break out to indicated cone
• Make sure to run in both directions
• Keep runs short and intense

Basic Forward/Backward/Lateral Hurdle Runs

Set up two to 10 mini hurdles ranging from six to 12 inches, depending on height and ability. For long drills, begin at set point. For shorter drills, with three or  four cones, start in the middle and straddle a hurdle for lateral movement work. Feel free to perform pattern variations.

• Run forward or backward, stepping over the hurdles
• Run forward or backward, shuffling around the hurdles
• Run laterally over the hurdles, going in one direction, or have a coach/teammate give multiple direction cues
• Add Lateral Crossover Steps
• Perform Two-Leg Jumps and Single-Leg Hops going forward, backward and laterally

Perform for a certain number of reps or time—e.g., 2x20 seconds with 30-40 second rest.

Check back next week for the third and final part of this series, where we'll tackle even tougher agility drills.


Mark Roozen
- Mark Roozen, M.Ed.,CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA, is the Director of Performance at Day of Champions Sport Camps. He recently was a member of the Cleveland Browns...
Mark Roozen
- Mark Roozen, M.Ed.,CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA, is the Director of Performance at Day of Champions Sport Camps. He recently was a member of the Cleveland Browns...
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