Improve Agility with Skills-Based Drills, Part 1: The L-Drill

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

In this agility drill series, we will break down three common drills and how you can adapt them to your sport. Today, we examine the L-Drill and how it can benefit your speed and agility.

Agility is one of the fundamental attributes athletes need to be successful on the field. It involves being able to quickly start, stop, move side-to-side, run backward and change direction. To see agility in action, check out Wes Welker, the New England Patriots receiver, who routinely puts on displays of agility at the highest level. He can quickly stop to avoid a defender and sprint in another direction.

To improve agility, you can't just run through a few drills and expect it to translate to the playing field. You need to perform drills with advancing difficulty to closely match the way you play your sport.

L-Drill Level One
This drill develops your ability to start, stop, change directions and run around objects or defenders tightly. It should be done three to five times during your agility workouts. When performing the L-Drill and its variations, you should focus on three things:

  • Start the sprints explosively
  • Drop your inside shoulder as you run around the cones; this will help you stay tight to the cones when turning
  • When stopping, push your hips back and chop your steps to help maintain your balance

L-Drill Level Two
Once you've performed the L-Drill for eight to 12 weeks, make it more challenging by adding a ball. For example, a basketball or soccer player should dribble a ball while running through drill; a football, baseball or softball player should catch a ball at random times; and a hockey player should stickhandle.

L-Drill Level Three
After eight to 12 weeks of level two, move on to level three, which involves an opponent. Now the drill becomes a race, with both athletes seeking to get to the finish line first. One athlete performs the L-Drill exactly as described in level one. The other performs the following:

  • Assume athletic position at cone number 1, facing other athlete
  • Backpedal to cone 2, keeping other athlete in front
  • Race back cone 1, touch cone
  • Sprint to cone 2
  • Run around cone 2 toward cone 3
  • Run around cone 3 back toward cone 2
  • Run around cone 2 to the finish line at cone 1


John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletics professionals solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with all levels, produced four videos, written 10 books and more than 70 articles on strength and speed training. For more information, follow him on Twitter (@yourhpservices).

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock