Part of getting ready for the rigors of sports or other physical activity is working on footwork, which affects agility, or the ability to move quickly and effectively in different directions. Agility and footwork is key to every major sport, including football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Drills can help target footwork, helping to improve agility and becoming better at a respective sport or activity.
A ladder is a piece of lightweight equipment put on the floor to help guide players through footwork drills. Made out of tape or other fabric, it is laid on the floor and resembles a ladder, with sides connected by rungs. In ladder drills, the point is to step inside the ladder, between the rungs, without your feet touching it. Different drills can target different types of footwork, such as moving side to side, forward or backwards. To develop quick footwork, try the in-and-out drill, in which the participant stands facing the ladder, with it lying lengthwise in front of them. Starting at one of the far ends, the person puts one foot into a section of the ladder, then the other foot, then removes the first foot, followed by the second one, all done as fast as possible. The person then shifts down the ladder and repeats for all the separate sections until arriving at the end of the ladder.
Jump roping is a popular footwork drill and has been used by boxers as a way to train the feet to move quickly in the ring. Jump rope drills involves using a long rope that is held by both hands and twirled around the body as the user jumps over it. Drills can be done by varying the speed and height of the jump as well as trying to revolve the rope multiple times in one jump. Users can also run or walk as they jump rope, as well as moving the feet in different directions, such as side to side or front and back while maneuvering the rope.
Using a step or elevated platform to perform specific drills is another effective way to develop footwork and agility. As with the ladder drills, step drills can be done side-to-side or front-to-back to develop the different footwork skills needed. A simple step drill involves the participant standing in front of the step or elevated object and stepping up with one foot, then the other foot, then stepping down with the first foot and again with the second foot, as fast as possible. This drill can be performed for a certain amount of time and trains the feet to move quickly in a specific direction. Drills can also be done by standing to the side of the step and stepping sideways with one foot, bringing the other foot up, then stepping off to the other side with the first foot, and then with the second foot, ending up on the opposite side from where the participant started.