5 Drills to Increase Agility on the Playing Field

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Agility is one of the most important attributes an athlete can possess. It allows you to decelerate, change directions and then accelerate again as quickly as possible while maintaining balance and control of your body.

Pro football players like Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson are great examples of how agility can impact performance. They are able to run in one direction; stop; and accelerate in another direction to break off a big run or attack a hole in the line.

Although Johnson and Peterson are gifted athletes, their impressive agility didn't come overnight. They put in the time and worked hard to improve their agility skills.

Below are five drills designed to develop your motor skills so you can be more agile. They require very little space and equipment and are easy to perform. I recommend that you pick two of these drills and master them. Then add another drill and master it. Do this until you are proficient at all five drills, and you will see performance improvements on the field. Watch the video first and then move onto the drills.

Set up two cones spaced 10 yards apart.

  • Assume starting stance behind cone 1
  • Sprint to cone 2, touch cone
  • Backpedal to cone 1, touch cone
  • Side Shuffle to cone 2, touch cone
  • Side Shuffle to cone 1, touch cone
  • Carioca to cone 2, touch cone
  • Carioca to cone 1, touch cone
  • Sprint to cone 2

Sets/Reps: 3x1

Five Cone Snake Drill
Set up four cones in a square 10 yards apart with a fifth cone in the center of the square (see image below).

  • Assume starting stance at cone 1
  • Sprint to and around cone 2
  • Sprint to and around cone 5
  • Sprint to and around cone 3
  • Sprint to and around cone 4
  • Sprint to and around cone 5
  • Sprint to cone 1

Sets/Reps: 3x1Five Cone Snake Drill

15-Yard Turn Drill
Set up three cones five yards apart to form a right triangle (see image below).

  • Assume starting stance at cone 1
  • Sprint to inside of cone 2 and run circle around cone
  • Sprint to cone and around cone 3
  • Sprint to cone 1
  • Perform set in opposite direction

Sets/Reps: 3x1 each direction


Forward Roll Over Shoulder

  • Assume starting stance
  • Bend at waist and begin falling forward to ground
  • Roll over left shoulder as body nears ground
  • Jump back to feet
  • Turn around and repeat, rolling over right shoulder

Sets/Reps: 5x4 each side

Drop and Get Up

  • Assume athletic stance, holding tennis ball or reactive ball
  • Throw ball in air
  • Drop to ground and perform Push-Up
  • Jump up to meet and retrieve ball before second bounce

Sets/Reps: 5x1

Photo:  David Sherman/Getty Images

Jerry Babbage is a sports performance coach and personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in Orlando, Fla. He works with athletes from numerous sports, including track & field, MMA, soccer, rowing, basketball, baseball and football. His performance articles are published on dragondoor.com and elitefts.com. For more tips and strategies on how to enhance athletic ability, contact Babbage via email at jerrybabbage1978@gmail.com or visit juggernautathletics.blogspot.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock