Football Drills to Increase Speed & Agility

To excel at football, you've got to have exceptional speed and agility. On offense, you'll be able to run faster down the field and dodge opponents. Defensively, you'll be better able to stay on a wide receiver and track down a running back. How fast and nimble you are partly depends on genetics and body type, but you can make significant improvements with training. Begin each workout by warming up for 10 to 15 minutes.

An agility ladder on a turf field. (Image: CharlotteVibePhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

Shuttle Drill

The shuttle drill forces you to accelerate, stop and change directions quickly, just like you'll have to do on the football field. You'll need three cones. Culver-Stockton College recommends setting the three cones 5-yards apart from each other in a line. Begin at the center cone. Sprint towards the cone on your right. Touch it, then change directions and sprint 10 yards to the cone on the left. Touch that cone and then sprint back to the middle cone where you started. Wait 60 seconds and then do the drill again, this time starting out by sprinting to the cone on the left.

Four Corner Drill

When playing defense, you've got to quickly transition between backpedaling and sprinting. Set four cones in the shape of a square so each cone is 5-yards apart. Begin at one of the cones at the top of the square. Backpedal to the cone directly behind you. Once you reach it, sprint diagonally to a cone. Backpedal toward the cone behind you and then sprint diagonally to another cone. Wait 60 seconds and repeat the drill.

1-2-3 Back Drill

During football, you don't know when and how you're going to sprint, stop and change directions. The 1-2-3 drill forces you to change directions while reacting quickly like you would have to during a game. You'll need a partner to call out commands. Set three cones in a straight line so that they're 5-yards apart. Position a fourth cone 3 yards behind the middle cone, which is where you're going to start. Each of the three cones in a line is given a number and your partner should call out "one," "two" or "three." For example, if he were to call out "two," you'd run to the middle cone. Your partner will continue to call out the numbers. If he yells "back," you've got to backpedal to the back cone. Continue the drill for 20 seconds and repeat two times.

Flying 20 Drill

The flying 20 drill improves your speed and develops your conditioning. You'll need 50 yards of space. Set a cone at the 30-yard mark. From the starting line to the 30-yard line, slowly build up speed, accelerating continuously so that when you hit the 30-yard mark, you're at an all-out sprint as you complete the final 20 yards. Rest 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat until you've finished five reps.

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