Speed and quickness workouts are becoming more common in many fitness training programs, particularly for older adults and youth athletes. Speed refers to your ability to move from point A to point B in the fastest time possible, while quickness is your reaction time based on your visual, audio and touch senses, explains Juan Carlos Santana, director of the Institute of Human Performance. Both of these basic components are essential in many sports that require a combination of speed, power, balance, agility and quickness, such as soccer, football and basketball.
Speed Box Combo
This basic drill trains you to move in the four directions that are common in many field sports. Place four small, orange cones about 20 feet apart to form a square. Start at one corner of the square by the cone and sprint forward to the second cone. Shuffle sideways to the third cone while facing in the same direction. Jog backwards from the third cone to the fourth cone. Glance behind you as you jog back. Then side shuffle toward the starting cone. Repeat this exercise in the opposite direction.
Basic Agility Ladder Drills
The agility ladder provides you with dozens of different foot positions to train different footwork and movement patterns with your lower body. The basic drills train body symmetry by determining whether one side of your body is more coordinated than another side. Balancing both sides of your body helps you avoid compensations that can lead to injuries, explains kinesiologist Chris Pearson, a contributing writer for PTontheNet.
One basic ladder drill is the mini-jumping jack, in which you hop inside the ladder square with both feet together and land briefly on the balls of your feet. Then quickly hop forward to land with each foot outside of the second box. Repeat this drill as quickly as you can through the entire ladder.
Jump Rope Combo
Jumping rope improves your rhythm, coordination, posture and cardiovascular endurance altogether. Perform each jump rope technique for one minute and rest for 30 seconds between sets. Start with your feet together and jump over the rope at a rate of two jumps per second. Land on the balls of your feet as you jump. In the second set, lift your right knee up so that your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Hop on your left foot for 30 seconds, switch leg position, and hop on your right foot for 30 seconds.
Medicine Ball Rotational Toss
Stand about two to three feet away from a sturdy wall, facing away from it. Hold a 4-pound medicine ball with both hands in front of you with your arms slightly bent. Turn your torso to your right, and pivot your left ankle and foot at the same. Throw the ball at the wall, using your hip and abdominal strength. Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall, and quickly turn to your left in the same pattern to throw the ball. Perform three sets of 16 to 20 throws.
- Essence of Program Design; Juan Carlos Santana
- PTontheNet: Baseball Part 3: Assessing and Developing Speed and Agility; Chris Pearson; December 2002
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook