What is Quickness?

WHAT IS QUICKNESS IMAGELet’s break it down into three components:

1.       Reaction

2.       Change of Direction

3.       Effort

Here are three components in most sports:

Reaction – response to a situation or event

Change of Direction – the ability to reorient your movement and either regain speed quickly or maintain speed

Effort (in terms of quickness) – maintaining quickness of movement and positive athletic form for extended periods of time

Most athletes train “change of direction” and flirt a little bit with “reaction” training, but few truly concentrate on “effort” in terms of being quick and maintaining form. A lot of times these components even get mixed together.

The goal of quickness training is learning how to maintain quick feet for the longest amount of time, without letting our form and coordination fall apart. We do not want to just “survive” the exercise or the workout; we really want to “train” the movements with good form, so that we snap back into strong posture as soon as we change direction or get knocked off-balance.

Here is how we add this into our training without taking away from the rest of the program.

Warm up

Quickness Training

Resume Planned Workout

Perform 6-9 repetitions on cone drills and reaction drills with 1-2 minutes rest.

Perform 5 sets of 10-15 seconds on effort drills with 1 minute rest.

We advise that you do your quickness training early in the workout, and for a relatively short amount of time, so that you capitalize on your body’s ability to coordinate best when fresh. This will ensure that you adapt to training faster and concentrate on perfecting form vs. beating movements into the ground and creating bad habits (ie. agility training at end of practice).

Once your feet move quickly without too much concentration and you are able to maintain quickness/good form, you can start to stress these movements when fatigued – to truly test progress.

Add these to succeed!

Reaction Drills

– Main Points: maintaining quick reaction/decision making over many repetitions·

Wall-System Reaction Training

o   Athlete turns and reacts to commands or lights

o   Can return to home base or begin new repetition (depends of desired length of drill)

o   Can be made more difficult by adding colors, shapes, objects on wall + adding touching objects high or low on wall + getting to cone

Cone-System Reaction Training

o   Same as wall drill, but with cones arranged at different angles to run to, on command.

o   Athlete turns and runs to “home base” area and reacts to commands, returning to “home base” each time, ready to react

o   Can be made more difficult with specific commands (direction, color, asked to perform task, etc.) or with adding multiple commands (“left” + “right” + “backpedal”)


Change of Direction Drills

– Main Points: constant movement of feet with NO pausing.

Cone Drills

o   Pick any cone drill and perform 6 – 9 repetitions with 1 – 2 minutes of rest in between

o   XLAthlete.com


Effort Drills(or components to add)

– Main Points: maintain quick feet and good form over time (15-20 second maximum)

Plate Hops/Runs

o   Small plate (rubber 35lb plate used here) with simple movements to be maintained

o   Can change movement, but should only be 1 direction, for the sake of this drill

o   Can be in uncomfortable position to stress effort of maintaining form (ie. wide stance)

Feet Chopping/Running

o   Same as plate hops/runs – simple movement/unidirectional

o   Can be in uncomfortable position to stress effort of maintaining form (ie. wide stance)


An athlete that trains these three components will sharpen their quickness skills and will be much more responsive, explosive and agile on the field of play when they put it all together!