How To Improve Speed and Agility for Sports

It doesn’t matter if you are a competitive athlete or a weekend warrior, increasing speed and agility is essential for improving your performance and beating the competition at your next game or athletic event. 

Agility is the ability to move in one direction and then change direction or position quickly to go in a different direction. If you have agility but no speed, you will not be able to utilize your agility effectively to create space between you and your competitors. 

Speed is the ability to move fast in one direction. If you have too much speed without agility, it will be hard to excel at sports that require lots of changing directions or lateral movement like basketball, football, and soccer.

It’s not only the pros who can train their speed and agility. Young and amateur athletes can perform drills with a Speed and Agility Training Set to improve athletic performance to outplay the competition. 

It was delivered, opened, set up in our side yard, and within an hour, we had several kids from our neighborhood out there practicing with our son! Kids need to be outside playing and staying healthy. -momma7reviews, verified Amazon customer 

Getting Started

It’s important to remember that you should never jump directly into speed and agility drills without warming up first. Begin with some moderate intensity cardio like jogging or bicycling. Use a treadmill or a stationary bike if you are indoors. 

Next we recommend that you perform some dynamic stretching and plyometric exercises to loosen your body up and prepare it for the movements you will be performing. Plyometric movements might include skipping, jumping jacks, jump squats, high knees, butt-kickers, burpees, or other exercises that warm your body up for explosive movements. 

If you are new to speed and agility training, we recommend that you start light and work your way up to more intense or challenging drills. 

The following are some of the best speed and agility drills you can perform using the A11N Speed and Agility Training setorganized from simplest drills to the more advanced. It’s important that you switch up your drills every once in a while to prevent burnout and keep your training interesting. 

8 Drills for Increasing Speed and Agility

1. Forward Running High Knees

Equipment Used: Agility Ladder

Why it’s so good: This drill improves stride length and general foot coordination.

How to perform: Lay out the agility ladder on the ground. Run through the ladder, focusing on bringing your knees up high. Land both feet in each space of the ladder before moving on to the next space. Stay on the balls of your feet and lean forward to maintain speed through the drill. 

2. Lateral Running Side-to-Side

Equipment Used: Agility Ladder

Why it’s so good: This drill is essential for court-sports like basketball, as it builds and improves lateral knee and ankle strength and mobility. 

How to perform: Lay out the agility ladder on the ground. Start by facing sideways and, one at a time, step each foot into the first space on the ladder. Once the second foot lands in the space, move the first foot into the next space on the ladder. Repeat until you go through all spaces on the ladder. Optionally, you can add a straight 10 yard sprint at the end to finish the drill. 

3. 50 Yard Chute Sprints

Equipment Used: Speed Parachute 

Why it’s so good: The faster you go, the more wind resistance the parachute will pick up. By training with this extra wind resistance, you will be able to sprint much faster, almost effortlessly, when you are springing without the parachute on. 

How to perform: Run straight for 50 yards. Pump your arms, focus on quick steps, and spring through the finish line. Don’t ease off early. Perform 10 total sprints with 30-45 seconds rest between each sprint. 

4. Multi-Direction Sprint/Jog Combo 

Equipment Used: Speed Parachute 

Why it’s so good: Athletes who play sports like football, soccer, or hockey need to spontaneously change directions during a play. This multi-directional drill helps to work on those explosively changing directions. 

How to perform: Sprint diagonally to the right for 20 yards, jog straight ahead for 20 yards, sprint laterally to the for 20 yards, backpedal for 20 yards. Perform these drills in the opposite direction to train all directions. Going in both directions counts as one set. Perform up to 5 sets total. 

5. Shuttle Runs 

Equipment Used: Disc Cones 

Why it’s so good: A classic and indispensable agility exercise, cones are set up 15-25 feet apart. The goal is to sprint from one set of cones to the other and back again. 

How to perform: Set up cones 20-25 feet apart. Start at 1 cone, sprint to the other set, and then sprint back to the starting position .repeat 6-8 times. You can mix this drill up by using only forward sprints, lateral shuffling, backpedaling, or any combination of movements to drill different aspects of agility most used in your sport. 

6. L-Drill

Equipment Used: Disc Cones x3

Why it’s so good: Most commonly used in the NFL Combine to evaluate potential draft picks, the 3-cone drill works on agility and explosiveness coming out of a 3-point stance. 

How to perform: Set 1 cone down at the starting line. Set the second cone 5 yards away from the first cone, and the second cone 5 years to the right or left of the second cone. It should resemble an L-shape. At the starting line, focus on exploding out to cone 2, then come back to the starting line. Then go back to cone 2, plant, turn towards cone 3, then loop around cone 3 to come back to the starting position. Drill both sides so you are equally agile in both directions.

7. 1-Step Speed Hurdles 

Equipment Used: Adjustable Hurdles

Why it’s so good: This drill teaches quick turnover and requires fast recovery to avoid knocking over the hurdles. 

How to perform: Space hurdles approximately 2 feet apart. Line up so that only 1 leg will go through the hurdles. Spring through the hurdles focusing on getting 1 foot to touch between each hurdle. You can add variety to this drill by aiming to get 2 or even 3 steps to touch in between each hurdle. Repeat on both sides. 

8. Speed Hurdles Hops

Equipment Used: Adjustable Hurdles

Why it’s so good: Jumping is a common movement in basketball, football, and other agility-based sports. This drill works on touching the ground and explogins back up again. 

How to perform: Set up hurdles approximately 2 feet apart. With feet together, hop between each hurdle as low and as quickly as possible without knocking the hurdles over. Hurdles can be spaced at different intervals to focus on different levels of quickness. 

Additional tips for increasing speed and mobility 

It is essential to properly warm up before and cool down after your speed and agility training. Stretching is also recommended to prevent muscle tightness and keep yourself mobility and flexible. 

Mix up your training sessions every once in a while to prevent boredom and burnout. Training should not only be efficient, it must also be somewhat enjoyable so that you want to come back for more. It’s a good idea to find a local training partner who you can compete against to keep the drills more interesting, and to let you know if you are using bad form. 

Check out the A11N Speed and Agility Training Set. If you come up with some drills of your own, send us an email at and we may add your drills to our guide and feature you on our social media profiles. 

Train hard, train smart!

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