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Two advanced ladder drills you should be doing

Coaches, this one’s for you! 

As you probably know, drilling ladders are a great tool for footwork, speed work and emphasizing different mechanics of speed and agility.  The ladders work not only the feet, but do a great job of connecting the mind with the body.  You can
add external Q’s as well such as horns, or a break-out pattern in which the athlete will have to stop their ladder routine and adapt to the next drill.  You can also add extra agility work when exiting the ladders to fully emphasize the entire movement you just isolated.  For example, if you are doing high knees in the ladder, you can simply exit with a 10 yard sprint, now focusing on bringing the high knee pattern into your full sprint. Speed and agility work

Yet, there are two things I see with ladders that could be improved. 

  • Coaches tend to lean on ladders too much. Ladders are fun, they can have benefits but they really are just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Coaches limit the use of the ladder. If you add in some of the previously mentioned suggestions, now the ladder becomes very dynamic.  nfortunately, many coaches stick to the same movement pattern and everyone who uses the ladder knows exactly which ones I mean.  High knees, icky shuffle, crossover, butt kicks. Hop scotch. 

There is nothing wrong with any of the standard movements. In fact, often times the KISS method is the best; however, if we do not challenge the system it will not up-regulate.  So I choose two footwork patterns that I find to be more advanced: 

  1. The snake: Aside from its difficulty, it does a great job with quick hip and rotary movements which relate to sports very well. I love that it keeps you on your toes, light on your feet and visually changing directions on every turn.
  2. Deadleg sprinter run: Out of 10 kids, I might (and I mean I might) find one kid who can do this out of the gates, let alone do it well.  I love this one due to its difficulty, but it has you doing four different things all at once.  It is kind of like scratching your belly and tapping your head at the same time. I like how this focuses on isolating one leg and the leg drive as well as the arm change in a controlled pattern.

Be sure to check out our video blog to learn how to do these two advanced ladder drills!

Key points

  1. Make sure you add advanced work into you ladder work.
  2. Use break-out drills and exit drills.
  3. Do not solely rely on the ladders to make you quicker; there are many other techniques which are also great.


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