If you're a sprinter, running fast in a straight line may be all you need to do. Nearly every other sport, however, requires players to move fast in every direction—side to side, diagonally, and backwards—and to do so in a confined, often crowded space.
"You should perform drills that are most applicable to the movements you do in your sport," says Todd Durkin, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego and trainer to a diverse group of elite athletes, including Blake Griffin, Drew Brees and Shaun White.
Durkin prescribes Box Drills that teach athletes to stay low, cut hard, and keep their feet moving fast. Master them and you will learn to accelerate, decelerate and change directions quickly, so you can get where you need to go faster than your opponent.
"So much of your sport happens in a small space and in multiple directions, so Box Drills translate to a winning performance," adds Durkin.
The following drills can be performed within a 5-yard-square box marked by cones in each corner. Perform one or two of the drills twice per week at the beginning of a speed or strength workout.
The drills are arranged from easiest to hardest, so master each one before progressing to the next.
Box Drill Variations
Guidelines for All Drills
- Keep your hips and center of gravity low, and pump your arms as you move.
- When changing direction, turn your hips first as you push off the balls of your feet.
- Perform 2-3 sets of each drill in each direction.
Forward-Facing Box Drill
This basic variation develops foot quickness and change of direction ability.
How to: Assume your starting stance at Cone 1. Sprint to Cone 2, shuffle to Cone 3, backpedal to Cone 4, and shuffle to Cone 1.
Spin Box Drill
The Spin increases the challenge while improving your spatial awareness and hip mobility.
How to: Assume your starting stance at Cone 1. Sprint to Cone 2. Plant your inside foot, spin clockwise and sprint to Cone 4. Repeat at each cone.
Figure-8 Box Drill
The sharp turns at each corner improve your ability to cut hard and stop on a dime.
How to: Assume your starting stance at Cone 1. Sprint to Cone 2. Round Cone 2 tightly and sprint to Cone 4. Turn and sprint to Cone 3. Round that cone and return to Cone 1.
Continue your speed and agility training with more box drills.