Improving foot quickness for sports??

Many young athletes lack foot quickness. I’ve used ladders (didn’t like the transfer to sports), jump roping with focus on less #s and faster jumps (i.e. 10 sets of 20 jumps) and a few line drills where athletes move their feet as fast as possible for a short time (<10 seconds).

What are coaches doing to improve foot quickness and how are you measuring transfer to sports?


I’ll try to get back later but here’s a start for the discussion…Pre-programmed drills vs. “Random/Chaos” drills…

At some point, the athletes need to switch to tag-type/random drills…How are we measuring “foot quickess”, and why is it important?

Duxx, some help here? - I gotta run!

What, exactly, does “foot quickness” mean, as direction change is initiated at the hips??

What about the role of general fitness or non-specific training in the development of foot quickness. Does young athletes really need more than what general strenght and power exercises can give?

Man honestly you can have them play games in which they have to accelerate fast. i.e. Tag, red-light/green-light, soccer on a basketball court, frisbe football, etc. etc. I mean since thier little kids you dont necessarily have to have them doing drills which tends to drag a kid down(not fun), make it fun for them to keep thier intrest for the long run. And since their getting their training from moving in a game like manner it will easily transferr over.
P.S. if thier not that quick already, you probably wont see that much of an improvment in one season, but keep it up and they’ll develope over the years. But as they grow older of course you can make it a lil more serious.

Charlie, in a scenario where you are working with a young athlete who plays basketball or soccer where foot work for sports skills is important, and repositioning of the feet during movements such as change of direction and lateral movements is important, what types of drills would you recommend?

They already play the game and have a limited physical tolerance to the overall volume of direction change before the damage (laxity of ligaments etc) outweighs any benefit. Working on elasticity, str, fitness etc in a linear fashion covers the needs. We’ve found this over and over with tennis players.

Interesting. What are your thoughts on boxers using jump rope for foot quickness and foot work in the ring?

It’s great for conditioning- footwork is prob not helped or hurt by it.

I am by no means an expert in this areas, but since devils asked, I’ll post my humble opinion :slight_smile:

Foot quickness is a ability (or even a skill, sport-specific skill) to quickly reposition the feet to more optimal position for acceleration (even decceleration) and position where sport skill can be applied as a reaction to a stimuli. Said this, foot quickness, as agility, have two components (1) ‘quick feet ability’ and (2) cognitive and decision making factors. This is what devils implied when said ‘preprogramed drills vs. chaos drills’…

As Charlie said, the quickness of the feet may have nothing to do with the feet, but rather hip and its adductors, abductors and internal/external rotators, even flexors and extensors… Make any sense?

I may say that I am more and more in agreement with CF regarding agility development, yet, if you have to plan sport-specific trainings (if you are a head coach), you must adress this issue. I don’t think it is smart thing to let the game and other coaches deal with ‘agility’ stuff, while we only deal with linear stuff… More and more it seems to me that my job as s&c coach is to make players play and do squats. Simple as that :). Same as sport specific skill, some forms of movement (discrete movement patterns) need some technical work, which doesn’t have to be done at full speed. As a side note, is directional change better when there is great feet frequency (approaching directional change with choppy little steps), or when it is sudden!!!. Some of the coaches in soccer believe that those chop steps are way to go, even for acceleretion (dumb assess :)).

Anyway, I guess ‘quick feet’ have to do alot with elasticity of the ankle joint and its appropriate positioning to the floor. Some form of pogo jumps, low squat jump, quick hip drills make sense to me… Also, try doing ‘calf tag’, where athletes must tag other athlete calf without being tagged.

thanks duxx…

as for my .02, we do some pre-programmed drills with our athletes. However, once the the athlete has mastered the correct position to be in, and has adequate body control, it’s time to move on.
I find that drills with cones, ladders, lines, etc., have very limited cross-over to the court or field.
Why? because of the “randomness” or ‘chaos’ of movement patterns that occur in most team sports…

If we can get the sport coaches to see this, they may see past ladders etc. (insert training panacea of the month here:) as necessary for quick feet or drill work.

Yes, and the emphasis should be on elasticity as the means to better assist “random or chaotic” movement.

I agree…I found athletes got better doing the drills but wasn’t able to repeat this on the field/court. Or I had fast, agile and quick kids fumble through the drills cause they had hard time thinking where to put feet.

In our soccer school at my club, they do a lot of drills to develop ‘coordination’… what this means is a bunch of fast feet drills using ladders, small hurdles, small cones. Skip here, jump, there, cuthere, chop here, one leg here, two leg there… a bunch of that stuff (btw I’m talking about kids of 10 years or even less). A lot of coaches mis-interpreted the word ‘coordination’ — I guess this B.S. don’t even exist, there are only skills and skill transfers. The more skills you develop (athletics, gymnastics, swimming, climbing, throwing…) the more ‘base’ you will have to ‘pull’ out of it later.

Devils, regarding decceleration and direction change, what is your point of view on the chop-steps? Should they be used voluntary, or the change should be suddent with minimal steps? (I’m talking here only on decceleration, 180 deg COD, lateral cut, NOT acceleration or ‘chopping’ when appropaching the ball for strike)

Also remember quickness is directly related to fatigue.

A fresh athlete is ALWAYS faster, quicker than an overtrained tired athlete - regardless of percieved ‘natural quickness’.

Why? Because quickness is a whole body activity not localised.


I want to make sure I understand the question…Chop steps in what way? Play within 2-3 meters, or over greater distances?
And what exactly do you mean by chop step…is there some kind of youtube out there, or perhaps something on the videos we’ve discussed before?

Just want to get it right!


By chop-steps I mean purposelly increasing stride frequency and lowering stride length when approaching stopping or change of direction point, i.e athlete runs backward and needs to run forward; he does tiny little chop step to accelerate forward; or when doing side shuffle and doing 180deg turn (stop and return) purposefull performance of tiny little steps to slow down… (this happens normally when approaching COD point at full speed)
I got into a verbal duel with GK coach today regarding this stuff… he said that this is the way to go, and I said it is the way to go when you are doing medium-speed drills, but not on real match at full speed… no time for it…
If I had a camera and faster internet I would post it on youtube, but I don’t :slight_smile:

I agree, no chop steps!

However, stride length will decrease (obviously), and frequency increase when the player is near stop speed, and then needs to decelerate suddenly; I think we’d agree that this would happen naturally, and there’s no need to teach it. Why get the player thinking about more things?

At short distances, I can’t think of an example where one would ever want to chop step.
The “plyo step” is one good choice for rapid COD, as is the side decel position that Parisi, etc., advocate. Chop stepping would be too much wasted time and energy…