Two Easy Ways to Improve Coordination
The greatest athletes in sports history have all had outstanding footwork and incredible agility, from the flashy boxer Muhammed Ali to the elegant tennis star Roger Federer. Athletes are required to move quickly and easily in all directions, often times reacting to a ball or evading a blow. Several drills can help improve your quickness and coordination on the field and give you the key advantage over your opponent.
These fabric or plastic ladders are specifically designed to help increase agility and improve footwork. They consist of 12-20 rungs and are laid down on the ground; in the drills, you step in and out of the ladders as quickly as possible without touching the rungs. One of the most popular drills for the speed/agility ladder is Two In, Two Out, where you start at one end of the ladder, then, one rung at a time, put your left foot in, put your right foot in, take your left foot out, then take your right foot out, and repeat for each rung, moving as quickly as you can along the ladder. Other variations include jumping with two feet through each rung as fast as you can, and hopping on one foot through each rung as fast as you can. These drills are often hard, at first, but if you practice, your footwork and coordination improve and it becomes easier to move through the ladder gracefully.
Popularized by boxers, the jump rope has become the favorite piece of equipment for most athletes. Jump ropes are usually made out of plastic, and the goal is to twirl the jump rope around your body with your hands while jumping between each swing. It can be slightly painful when first learning how to jump rope if the rope hits your leg or arm, but with practice, your footwork and timing will improve considerably, as it forces your mind and feet to work in sync. Other variations of the traditional jump rope style are hopping with one foot and alternating between each foot.
Practicing each day with these two footwork and agility drills will greatly improve your athletic ability and help you stay in shape; both drills are great cardiovascular exercises.