Ladder Agility Drills

January 27, 2016 - By 

They are an integral part of many SAQ programs and compliment many different sports and events.Ladder agility drills are an excellent way to improve foot speed, agility, coordination and overall quickness.

Speed ladder drills are about quality and form rather than producing overload. The drills are not meant to leave you fatigued or breathless in the way that shuttle runs might, for example.

It is better to perform these drills at the start of a session after the warm up. Your muscles should be fresh to ensure good quality of movement. And because they will not leave you exhausted you can perform resistance or endurance training afterwards.

Important Tip: Print this page out and have it with you when you practise these ladder agility drills. It’s a good idea to have half a dozen dummy runs on each exercise before you begin to perform them at speed.

Here are some general guidelines for all the ladder agility drills below:

  • Push off from the balls of your feet (not the toes)
  • Pump your hands from shoulder height to hips (men) and from chest height to hips (women)
  • Keep your elbows at 90 degrees at all times
  • Keep your arms, shoulders and hands relaxed
  • Try to keep your head still as much as possible

Ladder Agility Drills

downloadHop Scotch Drill

This is one of the simplest ladder agility drills, even for those who are too old to remember playing hop scotch (or just won’t admit to it!).

  • Start with your feet hip width apart at the bottom of the ladder
  • Jump up with both feet and land on the left foot only in the first square
  • Immediately push off with your left foot and land with both feet in the second square
  • Immediately push off with both feet and land on your right foot only
  • Push off from your right foot and land on both feet.
  • Repeat this pattern for the full length of the ladder

download (1)

In-Out Drill
Another basic drill to master but no less effective.

  • Start with your feet hip width apart at the bottom of the ladder
  • Step into the first square with your left foot first, immediately followed by your right foot
  • With your left foot step outside to the left the second square, then immediately step outside the second square with your right foot
  • Step back into the third square with your left foot first, followed by your right foot.
  • Repeat this pattern in fluid motion for the length of the ladder


Lateral Feet Drill
The ladder agility drills from now on require more practise and greater coordination. Be sure to give yourself several dummy runs before attempting at speed.

  • Start with both feet outside of the first square and to the left
  • Step into the first square with your left foot first, immediately followed by your right foot… in a 1-2 motion
  • Step to the right, outside the first square again with your left foot fist, followed by your right
  • Now step diagonally left into the second square, with the left foot leading always keeping the same 1-2 motion
  • Now step out to the left-hand side of the second square and repeat for the full length of the ladder
  • If you perform several sets of this drill start at different sides of the ladder so your lead foot changes each time

download (2)

Tango Drill
Named after the dance, when you perform this drill correctly you’ll see why. Or should it be the Foxtrot?

  • Start with both feet outside of the first square and to the left
  • Cross your left leg over your right and into the centre of the first square. Your right leg should immediately follow to the right of the first square, followed by your left leg
  • It’s a 1-2-3 motion like you’re dancing
  • From here your right foot comes across your left and into the centre of the second square as the pattern is repeated in the opposite direction
  • Repeat for the full length of the ladder

download (3)

Five Count Drill
This is the most difficult to master of these ladder agility drills and requires patience even for the most dexterous. When you can perform this exercise smoothly, with speed you’re ahead of most of the competition!

  • Start with your feet hip width apart at the bottom of the ladder
  • Step out to the right of the first square With your right foot immediately followed by placing your left foot into the first square
  • Bring your right foot along side your left in the first square then step into the second square with your left foot immediately followed by the right
  • Count these first five steps in a 1-2-3-4-5 manor
  • Reverse the sequence by stepping out to the right of the third square with your left foot
  • Repeat for the full length of the ladder

As with all the individual exercises that appear on this, or any other website, they are only as effective as the larger program that incorporates them. Developing speed and agility for your sport is a worth pursuit…


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