Teaching Agility and Footwork

Jim Kielbaso, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril

Agility, quickness and athleticism are traits that every athlete, coach and parent wants, but developing those things can be very difficult.  It’s one thing to work on a single movement or skill.  It’s very different, however, to improve overall agility, quickness and athleticism.

The key is to teach athletes how to move efficiently and give them a movement repertoire that gives them options for every situation.  To be agile, athletes need to learn proper footwork and have the ability to position and re-position their feet in ways that allow them to maintain balance and put force into the ground in multiple directions.  While this sounds complicated, we can teach athletes how to do this by incorporating coaching cues and instruction within our drills.

I’m often asked questions about what drills to use or what my favorites are.  As much as I try to explain that the drill isn’t key (it’s the coaching and instruction), people still want the DRILL.

So, the video below is my personal favorite drill for working on agility and footwork.  I call it the Agility Series.  The video includes two current and two former NFL players, (shoot me a message if you can name all of them) so they do a good job of the footwork.

You’ll also see that there are several variations of the drill.  The reason I like the Agility Series so much is that it incorporates acceleration, deceleration, quick feet movements and can easily be modified to include sport-specific movements.  It doesn’t require much space, but I’ve also used it on football fields with over 100 kids.  We simply use the lines on the field as markers instead of the mini-hurdles shown in the video.

I demonstrated this drill and variations at a conference recently and talked about how important it is to incorporate foot quickness into agility drills.  You’ll notice that a couple of the variations have the athletes taking quick steps as part of the drill.  Moving the feet like this is often used in sports and teaches athletes how to reposition their feet to create movement.  Rarely do we accelerate in sports from a completely stationary position, so it makes sense to practice the way we play.

Take a look at the video and imagine the possibilities for different sports and movements.  Just change the movement at each cone/hurdle/line to make it more specific to what you’re working on.

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2 Responses to Teaching Agility and Footwork

  1. Aaron October 10, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Hi Jim,

    I just did an ACL injury prevention presentation last night for parents of soccer and basketball players. These principles are exactly what I shared with them!


  2. Greg October 19, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Your stuff is gold Jim. It is being put to good use

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