Footwork Frenzy: How to Improve your Speed, Agility and Quickness
Regardless of the type of athlete you are, footwork is going to be one of the main determinants of whether or not you are able to out maneuver your opponent on the field, ice or court. The importance and stress put upon of this aspect of training can be seen with the prominence of agility stations that seem to be popping up at just about every gym chain you go to. Even though many of you out there are hardcore bodybuilders, weight lifters and cardio enthusiasts, we are all still athletes and many of us found our way into the gym via seeing the necessity for getting bigger, stronger and faster in our respective sports. So even though your focus now may be on muscle and strength, why not veer from your norm, try some new exercise drills and make your body better as a whole and not so one-dimensional. The following training drills are fun, challenging and will most definitely improve your speed, agility and quickness, which in my mind will only translate into better training for you.
The agility ladder is a favorite amongst athletes who depend upon their ability to shift, change directions and speed past defenders. The plethora of combinations that can be performed using the ladder is a tremendous caveat for re-creating or mocking the types of footwork that would be commonly used in game play. For this reason, hours a day can be spent perfecting certain footwork combinations, improving upon the time to complete the steps and to improve upon balance and overall strength of agility.
The dot drill is an oldie but a goodie in the sense that footwork combinations that may occur in multiple directions become the reasoning behind this drill’s effectiveness. Having to move laterally, diagonally, forwards and backwards as fast as you can is extremely challenging to say the least. To really get the most out of this drill, I like to have competitions between trainees where each sets up different combinations for the other to do within a certain time frame. This way the competitive edge from each person takes over and unbelievable movements and footwork end up occurring. Another benefit to this drill is the amount of work your core will receive by virtue of the quick changes in direction you take your body through and the overall stability that these actions require.
If you’ve ever played football at any level then chances are you spent a significant amount of time trying to get through a set of tires that were lined up and seemed to be set up so that falling down was imminent. With very little room to actually place feet down and in the tire (think about how it was for those with big feet), the tire drill requires a lot of precision footwork and exact foot placement at high speeds for anyone trying this to be successful in this drill. Add in the whole “high knees” thing and the tire drill becomes one hell of an exercise for speed, quickness and agility.
So here’s the thing; you may be reading this wondering what has any of this got to do with the type of training I like performing? Specifically speaking, probably nothing but aren’t these drills a great addition to what’s probably a boring and stagnant cardio routine that you perform on the daily? I’m not saying you should skip the stepmill and start focusing on drills such as these, I’m saying since you’ve already got your Super Freaks on you may as well spice things up, get back to your athletic roots, relive your Heyday, have some fun and allow for speed, agility and quickness drills to compliment your current routine.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.