The Truth about Speed & Agility Ladders

Let us be clear about this post and the information we are providing. In no way are we demonizing the use of the ladder when used by practitioners, parents or athletes. The biggest misconception that we find is that the ladder is used for agility by skill coaches; however, rather than some of the other benefits the ladder can be used for.



This study was done with ages 12-13 year old youth soccer players.

(1)"The aim of this study was to examine the effects of coordination training using an agility ladder compared with a control group on physical fitness and technical performance in youth soccer players. No significant differences (p > 0.005) were found from the pre- to the post-test in the dribbling speed test, agility test, slalom dribbling test, and skill index. In the between-group analysis, there were no differences between the agility ladder group and the control group in any variable. In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest coordination training with an agility ladder does not seem to be effective to improve physical fitness and dribbling. "


Here is another study with roughly the same ages of player:


(2)"The aim of this study was to assess the effects of plyometric training with an agility ladder on components of physical fitness in youth soccer players. In conclusion, the short-term plyometric training with agility ladder seems to be ineffective and not time-efficient to improve physical fitness in youth soccer players."


Here is a systematic study review on agility ladders that was completed in 2020:


(3)"Despite the widespread popularity of agility ladder drills, research is scarce and problematic, with poorly described protocols and mostly unidimensional performance measures. Claims that agility ladders improve agility and other physical skills is premature, given the nature and quality of existing research."


A part of our mission to help guide and navigate you through the plethora of information on the internet giving you up to date science backed information.


The agility ladder does not provide agility.


Agility is defined as the ability to change direction and think quickly through deceleration and reacceleration in spaces.


The ladder is a predetermined space with no movement outside of the squares or defined space.


Now before we move on from the agility ladder and why it's a waste of time for athletes to use it with the notion that it increases their speed, agility and reactiveness; and, we feel that it's how the devices are used.


For example, the ladder is effective for teaching coordination or re-education of balance, rhythmic movements and can be effective in part of a dynamic warm up.


Here are few ways you can increase your speed and agility:


While the best and most effective way of increasing speed and agility is....


1. FREEPLAY!


Freeze Tag, Cat and Mouse Chase, Flag Football or capture the flag if the space is available.


2. Change of Direction Cone Drills with Audible Cues


Place cones in letter based patterns, M,W,T, Y and assign numbers, colors or directions to each cone.





3. Accel-Decel Drills


This can be linear or non-linear cones lined out, accelerating and decelerating to each one.


There are many other ways to increasing performance with the right exercise and device selection.


This summer we are preparing to have the most comprehensive training yet by providing more training time, technology and group training experience. Join us in Jacksonville, FL for our Summer Strength Camp, registrations are open and you can save $50 off until May 20th.


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References:


(1)Padrón-Cabo A, Rey E, Kalén A, Costa PB. Effects of Training with an Agility Ladder on Sprint, Agility, and Dribbling Performance in Youth Soccer Players. J Hum Kinet. 2020 Jul 21;73:219-228. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0146. PMID: 32774553; PMCID: PMC7386157.

(2)Padrón-Cabo A, Lorenzo-Martínez M, Pérez-Ferreirós A, Costa PB, Rey E. Effects of Plyometric Training with Agility Ladder on Physical Fitness in Youth Soccer Players. Int J Sports Med. 2021 Sep;42(10):896-904. doi: 10.1055/a-1308-3316. Epub 2021 Feb 16. PMID: 33592641.

(3)Afonso J, da Costa IT, Camões M, Silva A, Lima RF, Milheiro A, Martins A, Laporta L, Nakamura FY, Clemente FM. The Effects of Agility Ladders on Performance: A Systematic Review. Int J Sports Med. 2020 Oct;41(11):720-728. doi: 10.1055/a-1157-9078. Epub 2020 May 12. Erratum in: Int J Sports Med. 2020 Jun 23;: PMID: 32396965.


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