Speed and agility are vital for many sports, including football, soccer and tennis. As a result, it is important for the modern athlete to train and improve these attributes, in order for them the edge over their competitors. While standard, sport-specific training carried out with your team or coach will go some way towards building speed and agility, this may not be wholly sufficient. It can be extremely beneficial to invest time into working specifically on speed and agility. This will involve carrying out specific exercises and using speed and agility training equipment.
Ladders are one of the most widely used pieces of agility and speed training equipment. Available from most sporting outlets, agility ladders usually have 10 - 20 flat plastic rungs arranged into a flexible ladder shape. While the length of ladders can vary, the rungs tend to form 18 inch squares.
During training, the ladder is laid out flat on the ground. Starting at one end of the ladder, you will move through the rungs using a specific footwork pattern. There are many different drills that can be used, such as hop-scotch, in-out and lateral feet drills, and more detailed instructions about how to perform these can be found here. Devoting 5 - 10 minutes of your warm-up or free time to ladder work will help improve footwork, coordination, speed and agility.
Eccentric and Isometric Training
Quick, agile movements put great stress on the body. Specifically, the body must be able to absorb the force of deceleration and overcome inertia in order to change direction sharply. Eccentric strength training focuses on building the strength required to absorb the force of deceleration, while isometric training will better equip you to overcome inertia. Exercises that enhance these types of strength will increase agility and speed, whilst also helping to reduce the risk of injury.
Both types of training are performed using free weights. Isometric training involves the athlete coming to a stop once the weight has been lowered to the bottom point of the lift. The athlete must then overcome inertia in order to raise the weight back up to the starting position. Eccentric training focuses on a controlled lowering of the weight during each repetition; the athlete slowly lowers the weight down to the bottom point of the movement, before 'exploding' back up to the start position. Video examples of eccentric and isometric training can be found here. Contact a company like Sport Speed to learn more about agility training equipment.Share