Agility is all about footwork and being able to fake or move quickly over short distances. Although the seven spitch is a big space, being able to cover those small distances better then your opposition can make the distance between winning and loosing. There are a number of exercises that can help develop your footwork. These include ladder drills, skipping (not just for boxers and little girls), gate work and many others. In this section I'm going to provide some examples of exercises to get you started.
Ladder work (ladder not essential)
For these sessions you will need either a specialised ladder or some cones. You could even use some random objects as markers. Place the ladder in some open space where there's enough room before and after the ladder. You'll need a couple of meters before and roughly 10 meters after to slow down. If you don't have a ladder place your cones or markers in a line with enough room to place a foot between each. I would recommend using between 5 and 10 cones. the more you use the harder the exercise so start with less and build up gradualy.
I've broken the exercise down into different exercises. Each exercise should be performed at high intensity so try and be as quick as you can through the drill, without destroying the ladder. Remember to warm up before your sesion and warm down to avoid injury. I'd recommend carrying out 10 exercises in each session before a rest. Walk or jog back to the start after each run to give yourself chance to recover in order to keep your training intensity high. In each exercise I'm advising starting from a standing start but as you get better try alternating between facing backwards, lieing down etc. Start a meter before the ladder so that you are gaining speed through the exercise.
Exercise 1- Accelerate through the ladder placing one foot in each gap.
Exercise 2 - Accelerate through the ladder placing 2 feet in each gap.
Exercise 3 - Turn sideways and place both feet in each gap in a sprinting motion moving sideways.
Exercise 4 - (The shuffle) Move left and right through the ladder placing both feet in each gap as you go.
E.g. starting from the left place your right foot in the first gap then left foot. Then step out to the right with your right then left so your standing to the right. Then step with your left foot into the second gap then with your right foot. Step to the left with your left foot then right. Continue through the ladder.
Exercise 5 - Sounds easier but is a little harder. Place both feet into each gap in a sprinting motion. But for 2 steps forward go 1 step back.
You could merge the above exercises with a sprint session by sprinting 5 to 10 meters after the ladder. But remember to keep your training intensity high.
There's a reason why boxers do so much skipping. It's great for your balance and footwork. And you don't need a large area to do it, just a skipping rope. You'll soon find that skipping is more tiring then you might have thought so build up you sessions. Start with 5 minutes and build it up to 10 - 20 minutes, don't worry too much about messing up, if something goes wrong re-set yourself and atart again. I've listed below a couple of skipping drills to help with you footwork.
Basic skipping - you might need to start with an extra jump between each time you jump over the rope. But if you can focus and passing the rope under your feet each time you jump. This will give you the platform to perform he other exercises. Try and keep a good posture facing forwards and keeping fairly upright but with enough bend in your knees to make it easy for you to jump
Hoping - as you develop the basic skipping try hoping on one foot then alternating between each foot. Remember to keep a balance so if you find it easier on one foot try working the other harder so that you build the muscles in both legs equaly.
Moving - this doesn't mean running around while skipping but gently jump from one side to another using both feet or hoping left to right forwards and backwards.
Figure of eight - as you gain confidence in moving try jumping or hoping in a figure of eight or any other shape.
This is simply running through a few well placed gates in order to give you a target to get through. You could set as simple or as difficult a course as you want but I'd recommend keeping it simple with 2 or 3 gates matbe a slalom. Set you course in 10 - 20 meter squared area with a start and finish line to ensure you push yourself to the end.
Exercise 1 - Set three gates within your area, the closer they are in a straight line the easier it will be the further apart the more difficult. Try starting with a simpler course and working your way to a more difficult session. Push yourself through the course try to get from the start to finish line as quickly as possible. After each run jog or walk back to the beginning as a rest before your next sprint.Exercise 2 - set up a similar course as above but add some ladder work or some gates in a row as a slalom. Carry out the exercise in the same way as above.