Agility Ladder Training For Quickness

Robert Dos Remedios is the strength and conditioning coordinator at College of the Canyons in southern California. He provides with a series of articles on lifting, conditioning, and fitness for football players. Also, see's Strength and Conditioning discussion board where Coach Dos will answer your questions.

The agility ladder is an unmatched tool in the development of agility and footwork in all athletes. The ladder is a portable tool that can vary in length and style. Many ladders come in 10-yard lengths (and can often be separated into 2 five-yard lengths). The ladder is basically what it sounds like, a long strip of sections usually 16 inches square. I have seen coaches make this ladder by painting it on a grass field or even creating one out of athletic tape on a gym floor.



The most basic patterns in this ladder are running through it one foot in each square.  Emphasizing "fire feet" (as if their feet are on fire and they are trying to stomp the fire out as quickly as possible!).  Next is running stepping both feet in each square before going to the next one (lead with the opposite foot the next time through).  This drill can also be performed laterally (side-stepping both feet into each square – leading with the foot in the direction you are moving).


The progression moves to more advanced patterns such as Cariocas through the ladder (placing one foot in each square) emphasizing "fire feet".  Slalom runs involve running down one of the sides of the ladder placing the outside foot in the first square and the inside foot outside the next square etc.  My favorite quickness developer is the

4-count laterals drill. This drill has the athlete standing outside the first ladder square (positioned laterally).  The athlete 1) steps with the foot in the direction of the movement, into the first square. 2) Follows with the trail foot into the same square. 3) Steps back outside the ladder with the lead foot. 4) Follows with the trail foot.  The athlete keeps progressing down the entire ladder using this "4-count" pattern at each square.


You can train reactive Plyometric patterns with the ladder.  Basic movements like 2 foot jumps in each square (forward or laterally) or single foot hops (forward and laterally). "In-and-outs" is a drill that I use that is similar to hopscotch.  1) The athlete stands with both feet in the first ladder square.  2) He jumps and lands with both feet OUTSIDE the same square. 3) He jumps back into the next square (both feet) 4) He jumps back OUTSIDE the same square.  The athlete moves through this pattern the length of the ladder emphasizing "fire feet" and extreme quickness. Another great Plyometric drill is quick skips through the ladder (emphasizing almost NO knee lift) just the fire feet in a skipping pattern! The agility "ladder" is a great tool for developing foot quickness…give it a try!

 Visit Dos Remedios' Website for ladder drill videos
(On the football page under "video")

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