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 It’s the season of speed here at Athletic Republic in Pittsburgh. Today we’d like to offer some tips on boosting an often-neglected skill: agility. The more agile you are, the better you’ll be at almost any sport, whether you need to reverse direction to reach a craftily-angled return in tennis or skip around an incoming nose guard in football, so follow these tips to excel.

Shuttle runs

This exercise is excellent for improving your ability to stop quickly, change direction, and keep your speed up, and it’s also beautifully simple. SImply set two markers roughly 25 feet apart and sprint between them. Focus on switching direction as fast as possible. One great variation on shuttle runs is to sprint forward to the marker, then run backwards as fast as possible to the other marker. Working on running backwards is directly useful in many sports (e.g. tennis) but is also great for developing overall coordination.

X drills

This is a great method for increasing your coordination whilst also strengthening knee and ankle joints. Tape an ‘X’ on the floor and place your feet together in the middle. Jump from the middle to one point on the X, back to the middle, to another point on the X, back to the middle, and so on. Switch up your jumping pattern periodically to keep yourself (literally) on your toes.

‘Hot feet’ exercises

Keeping your feet off the ground as much as possible is a good rule of thumb when working on coordination and agility exercises. Try running high knees, doing knee tuck jumps, and incorporating running up and down stairs into your regular runs. If you have access to a speed ladder, that’s a great way to work on keeping your feet up in the air.

Agility balls

Consider getting yourself an agility ball. These are irregularly-shaped so when thrown against a wall they’ll bounce back unpredictably. Find an appropriate space (a squash court is perfect) and work on throwing the ball against the wall and catching it. If you find this too easy, try working on catching it with your non-dominant hand to really work your coordination.

We offer many scientifically-developed programs to improve general performance, and to improve performance in particular sports (from basketball to lacrosse) so call us at 724-933-4317 to organize speed and sports training in Pittsburgh.