The agility ladder is used by many trainers, strength and sport coaches, and parents who aspire to have their kids become a better athlete. As with any piece of training equipment, it is important to know the proper time and place to utilize any exercise modality. Therefore, I am spending a short time going over some of the things people say about ladders and tell you if it’s myth or not.
1. Agility ladders make you faster – FALSE. Speed comprises of many things. In terms of linear speed, agility is not one of them. Therefore, agility ladders don’t improve on speed and this is also the reason why ladders should not be called “speed” ladders. In terms of improving speed with young athletes, the two things one should focus on is force production (strength) and stride frequency. These two components of speed are easier to improve and influence.
2. Agility ladders improve your foot/eye coordination – TRUE. Ladder drills are a great way to improve on rhythm and coordination of the feet in multiple planes. Additionally, when athletes become proficient at doing ladder drills you could incorporate some hand/eye coordination tasks such as catching a tennis ball while doing ladder drills.
3. Agility ladders can improve your conditioning – TRUE. This is not with everyone but for young athletes severely out of shape, doing ladder drills can improve on their aerobic capacity. Take caution, do not use ladder drills strictly as a conditioning tool. This should only be a supplement to any type of conditioning you are using with a young athlete.
4. Agility ladders can be sports-specific – FALSE. Agility ladders are a GENERAL tool to improve overall skill development and athleticism in a young athlete. Nothing about the ladder is and should never be sports-specific.
Follow these guidelines and the agility ladder can be a useful tool for your young athletes.
Written by Fitness Quest 10 Director of Athletics, Jeff King. For more information or to ask any specific questions about our youth training programs, please contact Jeff at email@example.com
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