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  1. Greg R.
    November 2, 2010 - 10:33 am

    Give a guy with “bad feet” a jump rope and you get a guy with bad feet and patella tendonitis.

    I like that, Coach Boyle, Never Outspoken

    What would get you better results faster, building strength or hammering running form?

  2. Brian Dunlap
    November 2, 2010 - 1:16 pm

    I like how you acknowledge the neural benefits of the “agility” ladder (not sure what else to call it. Some people call it a speed ladder, but that’s inaccurate too). I feel that too often we are quick to throw something out or completely revamp our program.
    I’m in complete agreement that speed comes down to horse-power and stride length as opposed to leg turn-over and fast feet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAf61OW5B7M&feature=related). As you point out, a guy who has fast feet but can’t produce force into the ground is going nowhere. But what’s wrong with someone who has a lot of horse-power AND fast feet? Maybe my definition of quick feet is different from other people, but to me, a strong and powerful athlete (or someone on the absolute-strength/strength-speed end of the continuum) that spends time on an agility ladder to improve that brain-to-muscle (or feet)connection will only benefit from that combination.

  3. Brian Dunlap
    November 2, 2010 - 1:18 pm

    I like how you acknowledge the neural benefits of the “agility” ladder (not sure what else to call it. Some people call it a speed ladder, but that’s inaccurate too). I feel that too often we are quick to throw something out or completely revamp our program.
    I’m in complete agreement with you that speed comes down to horse-power and stride length as opposed to leg turn-over and fast feet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAf61OW5B7M&feature=related). As you point out, a guy who has fast feet but can’t produce force into the ground is going nowhere. But what’s wrong with someone who has a lot of horse-power AND fast feet? Maybe my definition of quick feet is different from other people, but to me, a strong and powerful athlete (or someone on the absolute-strength/strength-speed end of the continuum) that spends time on an agility ladder to improve that brain-to-muscle (or feet)connection will only benefit from that combination.

  4. Fredrik Gyllensten
    November 4, 2010 - 5:47 am

    Great post, Michael. :)

  5. Daniel Roose
    November 4, 2010 - 9:43 am

    Great read this morning. The agility ladder is great for dynamic warm-up variation. It is not however the answer to footwork and agility issues that plague many athletes. Acceleration and especially deceleration are an overlooked factor in this topic.

  6. ben
    November 6, 2010 - 6:45 am

    Great discussion there! Perhaps some semantics issue too – starting speed, explosiveness, etc. Some might start slow, but are able to accelerate towards the mid to end range of a movement.

    In my opinion, Lionel Messi has great agility – fast and able to change directions… i think he spends more time doing soccer-specific drills than weights!

  7. ben
    November 6, 2010 - 6:52 am

    Great discussion there! Perhaps some semantics issue too – starting speed, explosiveness, etc. Some might start slow, but are able to accelerate towards the mid to end range of a movement.

    In my opinion, Lionel Messi has great agility – fast and able to change directions… i think he spends more time doing soccer-specific drills than weights! Perhaps as strength n conditioning coaches, we need to collaborate with other skill-specific coaches (eg, soccer) before jumping to conclusions.

  8. Cardinalsfan
    January 13, 2011 - 8:14 am

    Nice article but I think everyone missed the most important factor. Feet transfer the power from the legs into the ground. If you have bad feet, then that power does not transfer efficiently. You can have a race car for an engine in your car, but if you have flat tires for feet, your not going anywhere. For example if an athlete excessively suppinates/pronates, lack of dorsiflexion, excessive heel strikes, weak balance upon foot strike, etc. all the power in the legs will absolutley not transfer. Now whether agility ladders, jump rope, etc. are used by coaches to focus on that….I question as well. But good feet are absolutley essential to running fast. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that most runners do not use their feet as effectively as they should. Food for thought….

  9. Steve Lee
    December 10, 2012 - 1:51 pm

    I agree with many of the comments made here – but you also have to realize what speed you are looking for – sprinters who want straight line speed need the right technique – but for other athletes – soccer, football, basketball, rugby etc it is not just straight line speed that is important but the ability to change direction, to accelerate and decelerate – this was highlighted with some testing done between Christiano Ronaldo and the Spanish 100m sprint champion – the difference between stride length, knee lift, centre of gravity etc so the question becomes more conviluted again in terms of what kind of speed are you looking for.

  10. Eric Cressey
    December 11, 2012 - 7:25 pm

    Steve,

    Those changes will come simply from playing one’s sport. The point of the article is that we probably don’t need these implements to “complement” what we already get on the field.

  11. Jeff Lewis
    June 23, 2013 - 2:27 pm

    I coach soccer.
    I never thought ‘speed and agility’ training aids were for straight line speed.
    I also use small size balls where they toe tap, tap between feet, rotate round tip tapping the ball.
    That’s for ‘speed & agility’ too.

    Dont expect Usain Bolt to be doing it any time soon.

  12. Rory
    June 26, 2013 - 1:53 pm

    You’re saying people with fast feet are slower? What about Cristiano Ronaldo? He has exremely fast feet a great vertical and his acceleration and especially sprint speed is great.
    This is a serious question not an insult to this article.
    Thanks

  13. Eric Cressey
    June 27, 2013 - 9:24 am

    Rory,

    Who says you can’t have both?  Some people are athletic freaks!  We’re talking about developing athletes, not simply observing the ones who are already great.

  14. H2G
    August 25, 2013 - 7:40 am

    You should qualify you response. Your response may be totally accurate for track. However, for basketball you need both quick feet when defending and power when running and jumping. In basketball we train for both. Speed and Power!

  15. gemma
    September 9, 2013 - 7:28 pm

    is the agility ladder good for squash players

  16. Barr
    September 18, 2013 - 9:14 am

    I am looking to increase my sons foot speed for faster hockey skating. I am interested in ways to increase his vertical and to increase foot speed. Looking for recommendations and work out drills. I value proper functional movement and dryland training to increase speed. Looking for info and advice. I need a program for him for this year. Thanks, Barry

  17. Eric Cressey
    September 19, 2013 - 5:29 am

    Barry,

    How old is your son?  It’ll dictate which program I recommend.  Thanks!

  18. Rico Meuller
    October 25, 2013 - 3:40 am

    hey Eric,

    I am really intrested in the sulotion you have for Barry aswell? My son is 15yrs old.

    Thnx

  19. Brayden Barrett
    March 12, 2014 - 5:12 pm

    So basically your a bad athlete if you don’t have a great broad jump or you cant run real fast. And the speed ladder doesn’t show agility at all.

  20. Steve
    March 18, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    Hey Eric,

    Great article and I agree with you. However, having looked on pubmed and sports discus, there are numerous studies which suggest that SAQ training is effective. Why do you believe this is?

    Cheers,

    Steve

  21. Eric Cressey
    March 18, 2014 - 7:03 pm

    Steve,

    Are you speaking with respect to agility ladders and quick feet drills, or entire programs that attack agility work, etc?

  22. Manh Tri
    March 24, 2014 - 9:50 pm

    Hi,

    I’m a high school soccer player. I was just looking for quick-step exercises when i came across your article. I think lots of things you said here make sense, but i have a few questions regarding this whole matter:
    1. You said power matters the most. I suppose this power comes from the muscles. Doesn’t you achieve quick feet through the improvement of muscles too? So in a sense, quicker feet = stronger muscles = higher speed?
    2. If quick feet has less to do with muscles, what do they have to do with?
    3. So in your viewpoint, ladder and other common quick-feet exercises are only good from a neural perspective? How else can they be beneficial for me in soccer?
    4. So am i recommended to start on quick-feet workouts, considering that im looking to make my: turning faster, faster acceleration, quicker feints, better body balance and COG shift? If not which exercises, particularly should i work on?
    Thank you very much for spending your time on this inquiry. Hope to see an early response.

    Tri,

  23. jon kane
    April 6, 2014 - 2:11 pm

    just got into boxing and remembered you wrote this article. strength must come before speed!

  24. David
    April 15, 2014 - 7:12 pm

    Eric,

    Thanks so much for the scientific approach to strength and power development! I have a young high school wrestler who needs more “horsepower” and explosion with his shots and with standing from the bottom position. He lifts often using multi joint compound exercises along with rope and chin work. What would you recommend for his primary lifts and Plyo work to help him increase his horsepower?. At present, he performs parallel squats, some trap bar work, cleans, push presses, hip thrusts, and bounding work. Thank you for your expertise and time.

    David

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