AGILITY LADDER DRILLS
Even though there is not enough of scientific data to confirm this, agility ladder drills are known as a good addition to improve and to work on some aspects of agility, footwork, quickness, balance, and coordination.
Mostly, agility ladder can improve foot contact, body control, rhythm, coordination, foot/lower-leg stiffness, and CNS activation – all of which can translate into more effective movement in any sport.
The real effectiveness of agility ladder depends on the user. The truth is that many coaches often either overuse or incorrectly use the agility ladder. The goal with using the ladder should be to develop an awareness and framework of how the foot contacts the ground, rhythm, body positioning, shin angles, and foot stiffness.
Agility ladder drills challenge the body to adapt to new muscle patterns and improve proprioceptive ability, as well as to enable better footing during athletic performance.
For agility ladder drills to be truly effective, coaches should challenge their athletes with drills that they are not familiar with, with patterns that sometimes feel unknown and awkward, and with drills that require them to slow down and think about what they are doing.
We can get this by using the novelty approach – by using new, unknown patterns of movements. This was one of the main guiding thoughts that I had while I was creating this agility ladder drills video.
AGILITY LADDER DRILLS – VIDEO COMPILATION WITH 102 DRILLS
This is a 1hr and 16 min long compilation video with 102 agility ladder drills.
There is also an accompanying PDF with the list of all drills and time stamps for each drill that you’ll get when you purchase the video compilation.
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COGNITIVE BENEFITS OF AGILITY LADDER
Besides many known physical benefits of agility ladder training, there are also several cognitive benefits, and exactly the cognitive benefits of the agility ladder drills were my main focus when I was creating this video compilation.
Here I attempted to present and explain some of the most significant cognitive benefits connected to the agility ladder drills that I was working on when creating this video compilation with 102 drills.
IMPROVED COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING
Agility ladder drills require fast thinking and responsive behavior, a practice that’s called neuromuscular training.
Neuromuscular training focuses on performing exercises that train the nerves and muscles to react and communicate.
A study from 2013, from the Air Force Research Laboratory, showed that agility training can improve cognitive performance. “Agility training incorporates components of learning, focus, balance, and coordination. This type of training can stimulate richer connections among multiple brain regions by demanding them to work together.” said study coauthor Erica M. Johnson, Ph.D.
Additionally, certain type of agility ladder drills are a great “tool” for brain training. More about that you can read below.
BILATERAL COORDINATION WITH AGILITY LADDER DRILLS
It’s well known that agility ladder drills are great for improving coordination.
Coordination is the ability to select the right muscle at the right time with proper intensity to achieve proper action.
With adding some creative elements to the agility ladder drills – we can work on a bilateral coordination.
Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled and organized manner.
To coordinate two-sided or bilateral movements, the brain needs to communicate between its both hemispheres.
Recent studies have found out and proven that people who exercise in a way that activates both sides of the brain exhibit overall higher brain performance.
Improved communication between the two brain hemispheres helps improving the retrieval of memory and alertness as blood flow to the brain is increased, which leads to enhanced cognitive and athletic performance overall.
Each side of the brain is specialized to perform specific tasks and functions, and by working on increasing the communication between the two brain hemispheres people can improve memory, coordination, and concentration. All of these aspects are especially important for athletes.
There are many drills in this agility ladder video compilation that focus on a bilateral coordination.
Cross-body movements are the movements that make opposite sides of the body to work together.
Cross-body movements help the left and right hemispheres of your brain to coordinate and connect.
The connection between the left and right hemisphere is important because the more your hemispheres connect – the more optimally you can perform any given task.
It is a very known fact that the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa.
By performing different tasks with opposite sides of the body at the same time, cross-hemisphere communication is initiated and maintained.
In many of the drills in this agility ladder video compilation, I used different cross-body movements.
Performing the cross-body movements strengthens the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of your brain, which allows electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two.
Cross-body movements help the left and right hemispheres of your brain to connect and coordinate. This is important because the more your hemispheres connect, the more optimally you perform any given task, which is especially important for athletes in any sport.
UPPER AND LOWER BODY DISASSOCIATION
Many of the agility ladder drills in this video compilation are great for upper and lower body disassociation training.
Dissociation in the world of movement simply means different body parts performing different movements independently of each other.
Learning how to move the upper and lower body in different directions and at a fast pace is a skill that can translate to almost every sport.
LADDER DRILLS FOR AGILITY – THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES
Agility ladder drills are commonly and often used in many sports, and as such – the topic is very familiar to most of the coaches. Still, I would like to highlight and mention a few details that you can pay attention to when using the drills from this video compilation.
Below I listed a few of the most common mistakes.
AGILITY LADDER DRILLS DON’T IMPROVE SPEED
Many coaches find it challenging to wrap their heads around this, because agility ladder is often
Firstly, it’s important to answer on the question: What is speed?
Simply said, it’s the rate at which an individual can run, horizontally on the ground. It’s stride length x stride frequency, mixed with power. Which would be (force x distance) / time.
What makes speed is how fast can you apply force into the ground to propel yourself forward? How much force can you apply to the ground? How far can your stride take you and how fast can your strides occur?
The fact is that basically nothing performed on the agility ladder can completely transfer to those formulas optimally.
There is really no maximal force application on the agility ladder. When we perform agility ladder drills – it’s all about very light and fast foot strikes. There is no maximal stride length, as the boxes on the ladder are usually around 40-50 centimetres.
Depending on what kind of agility ladder drills are being worked on – there may be some maximal stride frequency, but it will still lack the force and stride length that are needed to be suitable for sprint speed.
I just wanted to clarify this detail about agility ladder, as it’s a very big topic and there is a big confusion present about it.
NO CONTROL IN THE MOVEMENT
It’s the easiest to start every new drill slowly and keep doing it slowly until you / or your athlete learn the pattern of the drill. Only after you learn the pattern – you can increase the speed. Ideally, after learning the pattern, you want to be able to perform the drill quickly.
If you start doing the drill too fast before mastering the pattern of it, you’ll notice that it’s difficult for you to step properly inside or outside of the ladder squares.
LEANING TOO MUCH FORWARD WITH THE BODY
After learning a new drill, and when increasing the speed in which you are performing the drill, pay attention to not lean too much forward with the upper body, as that’s one of the most common mistakes.
One of the most important skills that can be developed with an agility ladder is teaching an athlete how to control their centre of mass while performing any of the agility ladder drills. The centre of mass needs to travel in a straight line, while the feet are performing any of the agility ladder patterns.
Focus on keeping your body upright and well balanced when working on any of the drills.
The shoulders should stay over the hips so that body weight is centered and balanced over the midline of the body.
You need to be balanced in order to generate force, and you need to generate force in every sport.
STEPPING WITH THE WHOLE FOOT
It’s completely normal and preferable to put the whole foot on the ground when learning any of the new agility ladder drills. That will make it a bit easier to learn the movement pattern and to coordinate your feet.
But when you learn the movement, and as you get quicker, you don’t want to put the whole foot down. In principle, the heel shouldn’t come in contact with the floor when performing the drills.
That imitates movements that athletes usually need to make when they need to change direction or respond to a stimulus on the field (another player, a ball, etc.).
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS
If you want to practice the agility ladder drills from this video compilation, you need to make sure that you have healthy knees and feet.
The information contained herein should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.
You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs.