March Madness marches on this weekend as college basketball teams battle to get into the Sweet 16. Last week we focused on speed and explosiveness on the basketball court. This week we turn our attention to agility.

Josh McIntyre is a licensed and certified speed and agility coach, as well as a boxing and CrossFit coach. “Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, stop, and reaccelerate in any direction without losing speed or balance,” he explains. “The quicker we can do this, the more agile we are.”

McIntyre’s favorite training equipment includes agility ladders and jump ropes. “These are proven and widely applied everywhere,” McIntyre says.

Agility Ladders Workout – Perform all exercises 3X through the ladder

  • Low pogos
  • One foot hops
  • Hops in and out of the ladder
  • Scissors
  • Skaters
  • High knees (forward and laterally)
  • Ickey shuffle

Jump Rope Agility Workout – 15 minutes

  • Alternate feet
  • Single unders
  • Double unders
  • Stay on balls of feet while jumping

McIntyre also works on stopping and starting with his athletes. He uses “stationery skaters” and “progressive skaters”, which break down the stopping and starting motion to its fundamentals. “Just like practicing a jump shot, we practice basic movement,” he says. “After all, when did we ever just work on stopping and starting? Never, right? Yet, we perform this movement more often than anything else during a game or practice.”

Skaters Agility Workout

  • Perform skaters for one minute, explosively switching from side to side
  • Rest one minute
  • Perform 3 to 5 sets
  • Increase time as the athlete progresses

This type of agility training can also help prevent injuries in athletes. “After all, 85% of injuries in sports happen when an athlete is stopping or landing,” McIntyre explains.

Josh McIntyre is the General Manager at St. Clair Fitness in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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