Agility drills for any sport
Baseball is the focus, but these drills fit into what a coach of almost any sport wants to accomplish with players
By John Weber & Chris Stocker, Purdue University North Central, Westville, Indiana
Baseball is an explosive sport. When we train our student-athletes, we use short bursts of movement to help advance those quick twitch muscles. There are several agility drills you can use to accomplish this.Here is a breakdown of those drills. The key is not quantity, but instead quality. It’s important to stress to the players to feel the body part having an explosion of movement. It’s important they can feel that hamstring propelling the legs forward, and the quadriceps pulling the body ahead.
We do our drills in three sets at 40 seconds apiece with a 20-second break between (as the training goes on we get expand it to 50 seconds on/10-second break, 60 seconds on/10-second break). We run these drills simultaneously. When they complete one set, they move onto the next agility drill.
These drills are for lateral movement (think a shortstop shuffling side-to-side) and getting good jumps (think an outfielder on fly balls and baserunners stealing bases). The drills are great for catchers when blocking balls to get up and get into a position ready to throw, and for pitchers to drive off their back leg. This is the basis we use to make our players quicker and gives us the ability to take advantage of other teams mistakes.
DIAGRAM 1: M frame. In this drill, players start on the X, sprint to the cone, then backpedal to the next one, following this same order until the end of the drill. They then work it from the other side (end point).
DIAGRAM 2: The T drill. Players start at the X, sprint 10 yards, shuffle to the right (5 yards), sprint to the top (7 yards), backpedal to the T, shuffle right, then backpedal to the finish. Drill should be reversed upon completion.
DIAGRAM 3: The Ladder Drill. This is a great head-to-head drill. The competition really brings out the best in players. With each player on a different side, players start at the X, sprint to the closest cone 5 yards away (black line), then double back to the far cone, 10 yards total (green line), then sprint the full length 15 yards total (blue Line).
DIAGRAM 4: The Sprint Shuffle drill. It’s name isn’t creative, but this is a good change-of-direction and explosion drill. Players start at the X, sprint 7 yards ahead, shuffle to the right 5 yards, sprint 5 yards, shuffle left 5 yards, then sprint to finish.
The final drill is the Lay Down Sprint. The name says it all. Players lay down on their stomach, and when the coach says “go,” they stand up as fast as the can and sprint the 10 yards. Then restart from the end.