Do Fast Feet Matter?

    I’ll bet that anyone who has every played a sport knows what an agility ladder is.  They are typically used to perform certain “quick feet” movements through the ladder with the idea that they will make you faster or more agile. Some people will often even call these “speed ladders” but does moving your feet really fast without really applying force into the ground translate to more speed?  Take Michael Flatley, “the Lord of the Dance” guy, he can move his feet super fast, but is covering any ground?  Here is a sweet video of that guy.
I am not saying that agility ladders are the devil, I think they can serve as a multiplanar dynamic warm-up and when used properly and sparingly (5 mins or so) can develop coordination, eccentric strength and stability.

Agility ladders = devil.. no way, a cute devil at the most.

Really, what speed and agility comes down to is developing more horsepower (strength & power) and the nervous system.  The more strength and power we can develop, the more force we can put into the ground and thus cover more ground in a shorter period of time.  What kind of training do we need to do in order to develop this?  Single leg strength and stability work.  Why primarily single leg work?  Well, athletes need to learn how to accelerate and decelerate on one leg. Sounds like planting, cutting, or changing direction, right?  For more on this it would be wise to read David Lasnier’s blog post appropriately named, The Case for Single Leg Training. as well as Mike Boyle’s, “The Case for Single Limb Training.”

With speed training (linear, lateral, or transitional) we use movements that are typically seen with athletes in their respective sport.  Ladders just do not have the same carry over to speed like speed movement drills. 

Here is a transitional and lateral speed drill.  The transitional drills would also be implemented later in the off-season to get athletes more accustomed to the movements they will encounter in their sport.

Categories: Speed Training

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