Agility training

Why is agility training important?

Getting players comfortable with the movement of their feet and body and knowing the impact zones for quick changes on the pitch will drastically improve both a player’s ability to change direction and help to keep their joints safe.

Agility training will also help to improve the general speed of your players as they become more aware of their movements and coordinate themselves better.

We tend to incorporate agility training at the start of our sessions, directly after our warmup routine. We find this helps keep players warm as well as getting their bodies back in rhythm and ready to continue with the day’s training.

Below, we have outlined three different types of agility exercises that we do regularly and thought you might like to try. These can be performed in groups or individually, which make for the perfect exercises to incorporate in to both person and group fitness plans.

 

Agility Ladder Runs (An agility ladder or at least 8 cones/markers)

Agility ladders are a great balance between fitness and speed training, while working on a player’s individual agility. You don’t need an actual agility ladder if you don’t have one (but they are reasonably cheap to buy, HERE is a link). You can use cones or even sticks placed flat to make a makeshift ladder. We’d suggest spacing them out to make at least 8 rungs for the ladder.

There are almost countless different agility ladder exercises to help improve a player’s footwork. We are just going to highlight three of the foot pattens that we like to use during the beginning of our training sessions as part of our warmup routine.

Whilst regular practice with these drills will improve the speed and endurance of players, remember to ease yourself and your players into the drills: it’s more important to get your footwork right before working on doing the drills fast.

Two feet in.

Possibly the simplest exercise, advance up the ladder quickly placing one foot after the other into each rung of the ladder. This helps quicken the movement of your feet and also helps to work on your eye-hand and feet coordination. You can perform this pattern either keeping your feet low to the ground (making sure to be at least high enough to pass over the ladder) and moving them as fast as you can. Alternatively, you can bring your knees high to help the stretching process.

Side steps

Working on quick side steps is an essential part of training, as being able to move side to side quickly and change direction is a big part of the game. Side steps are again a simple exercise with the agility ladder. Start by standing to one side of the first rung of the ladder. Place the foot nearest the ladder inside the rungs, followed by your second foot, so both feet are together. Now, go the other way – your first foot steps out of the ladder on the other side, followed by the second foot, so you are now standing on the opposite side to where you began.

Then repeat this, advancing forward up the ladder.

In Outs

This exercise helps to work on a player’s ability to change direction into a back pedal quickly, again an essential skill in the game of quidditch. Start in a position at the side of the ladder, facing it with your feet together. Start by placing your first foot in-between the first rung, followed by the second foot to bring them together, then repeat backwards, until you are positioned back outside of the rungs, continue this down the length of the ladder. Again, to start with focusing on perfecting the right motion instead of aiming for speed. Get used to how your feet need to move in order to quickly change forward and backward motion.

T runs (4 cones or markers)

T runs are a good set exercise to help train quick changes in direction and footwork. Again this is an extremely simple set up and only requires 4 cones or markers. Place one cone at a starting point, then further down by about 4 meters, place the further three cones/markers in a straight line across with a distance of about 3 meters in-between each of these cones. This should leave you with a T shaped area marked out.

  • Starting at the first cone, the player is to sprint to the centre cone
  • Change direction and continue the sprint to a predetermined outside cone before side-stepping to the opposite far cone
  • Side step back to the centre cone, before back-peddling to the starting cone to finish.

Remember, after running the drill in one direction a few times, swap the drill so that you work the opposite muscles by doing the drill in the opposite direction.

Foot twister (4 cones, at least 3 of different colours, two people)

This exercise works on both the agility and reaction time of your players. Set out four cones to make a T shape, with the starting cone being about 2 meters away from the line of three, which should be spaced out by about 1 meter. Make sure that the cones in the line are all different colours or are otherwise distinguishable. If you can’t tell them apart, label them from right to left.

The exercise consists of a runner and a caller. The runner starting on the back cone, will follow the instructions of the caller, who will call out the colour of a cone, upon hearing this the runner must make their way to that cone quickly. When the runner reaches a cone, the caller again with call out another cone quickly to keep the movement going. Attempting to keep speed up and calling different pattens of colours for the runner to move to. This should go for a pre-set amount of time, we suggest 30, 45 or 60 seconds, depending on fitness.

We hope that these simple agility exercises help you develop ideas to go towards running your sessions. Remember for more drills and exercise ideas, QUK have published a new drill guide which you can find HERE or you can find more of our resources on how we have been running our training during Covid, HERE. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.