Improving quickness is one of the biggest reasons that athletes will seek out training.
Quickness is a great thing because everyone notices it. Opponents, coaches, and scouts will always recognize and respect quickness.
I also find quickness to be the biggest area of growth in most athletes. It has the most room for improvement. In 8 weeks, an athlete can experience dramatic increases in their agility. Give it more time and it only gets better.
Despite how easy I find quickness to be to improve, it is definitely one of the more complicated topics.
The above image shows us that there are 12 different factors that go into improving agility. Every time I try to outline some of the most important ways to get quicker, the list seems endless.
I really like the approach we take at Evolution for helping with quickness. Our program hits on most of the things that are in that chart above.
Too often, coaches will try to improve quickness with a strategy that is not suited to do that. I have heard of athletes running distance to help their quickness and asking if we are going to do ladder drills.
Distance running does not touch on any of the categories above and ladder drills hit on two.
Instead we can look at the following methods to get the best increases in quickness.
Strength helps athletes being able to absorb and produce force. Producing it is most similar to explosively taking off and absorbing it is slowing down.
You need both of these qualities to improve upon quickness. If it takes one athlete longer to slow down, they are going to appear slower than the other.
A much more obvious scenario is when an athlete gets to a quicker start. No one will question that and strength is the best way to improve that ability.
There are a few technique points we have to address to allow for good change of direction.
First, you must be able to sink the hips back and bend the knees. This athletic position is efficient for not only slowing down but also getting going.
Good positions will allow for the best displays of strength. Other things that athletes must be able to do for quickness:
- Push into the ground to gain distance
- Use a crossover step to accomplish the first point from a lateral position
- Be able to switch among multiple movements like sprints, shuffles, and backpedals
I think the ability to react is probably the most important aspect of being quick in a sport.
You can be strong as an ox with perfect technique but if it takes too long to process info, you will not appear to be as quick.
The best way to improve on reaction is to find unpredictability. A partner can be good here.
You can take any speed and agility drills and make it reactive. During a W drill, a partner can say change. On that change you can go back through the W, sprint straight ahead, or backpedal just to name some options.
The only limitations on incorporating reaction is your creativity.