Advanced Agility and Quickness Drills
  • Advanced Agility and Quickness Drills
    These three advanced agility drills offer different ways to challenge athletes to improve their response time, quickness, and agility.
  • Kinetic Select Banner

    The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book Developing Agility and Quickness, part of the NSCA’s Sport Performance Series with Human Kinetics. All text and images provided by Human Kinetics.


    Lifters Ball Drops Drill (Level 3)
    This drill is excellent for improving response to visual stimulus and first-step quickness. The athlete and coach stand approximately five yards (5 m) away from each other. The coach has a racquetball (or any ball that bounces). The athlete assumes an athletic position.

    The coach holds the ball out to the side at shoulder height and then randomly drops it. As soon as the coach releases the ball, the athlete sprints toward it and catches it before it bounces twice (Figure 1). The athlete should catch the ball in a good athletic stance. The athlete may not dive for the ball to make up for poor reaction time.

    The coach and athlete can use the following variations to make the drill more challenging:
    • Increase the distance between the athlete and the coach.
    • Have the athlete start from different stances (three-point stance, on a knee, on the belly, and so on).
    • The coach holds a ball on each side and drops only one. This requires the athlete to be aware of multiple focal points.
    • The coach holds two balls and assigns a number to each (or uses different colored balls). Then, the coach drops both simultaneously while calling out a number (or color) to indicate which ball the athlete should attempt to catch.


    Quickness Box (Level 3)
    This drill is good for improving quickness in confined spaces. Four cones are set up to create a square with sides approximately 6 – 10 feet (2 – 3 m) long. The cones are numbered one through four. The athlete assumes an athletic position in the center of the box (Figure 2) and waits for the coach to call out the number of one of the cones.

    When the coach signals, the athlete runs, backpedals (Figure 3), or shuffles as needed to touch the cone with either the closest hand or the one specified prior to starting the drill. After touching the cone, the athlete sprints back to the starting position and waits for the coach to call the next number. He repeats this drill for approximately 10 seconds per set and does two or three sets.



    Y-Drill (Level 3)
    This drill teaches athletes to quickly adjust their stride and foot placement in order to transition into other movement patterns. Four cones are set up in a Y pattern (Figure 4). The two cones forming the top of the Y and the base cone should be placed about 10 yards (9 m) from the middle cone. The base cone is 1, the middle cone is 2, and the top cones are 3 and 4.

    The coach stands in front of cone 2 in the V at the top of the Y. The athlete assumes a sport-specific position at cone 1. On the coach’s signal, the athlete sprints to cone 2. When the athlete reaches it, the coach gives a directional cue (Figure 5) to signal which of the three cones the athlete should sprint to next. The directional cue can be a visual cue, such as pointing, or auditory cue, such as calling a number. The coach may modify this drill by having the athlete backpedal or side shuffle to the designated cone.



    Developing Agility and Quickness, published by Human Kinetics, focuses on improving athletes’ fleetness of foot, change-of-direction speed, and reaction time with more than 100 drills. The book is available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online in the NSCA Store.

  • Jay Dawes

    About the Author:

    Jay Dawes, PhD, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT,*D, FNSCA

    Jay Dawes is an Assistant Professor of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He has worked as a strength/performance coach, personal trainer, educator, and post-rehabilitation specialist for over 15 years, and continues to act as a performance consultant for a wide variety of athletes, law enforcement officers, and those in physically demanding occupations.

  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
  • Add Comment

    Text Only 2000 character limit


    Page 1 of 1