Five ways to increase speed and agility in American football

Speed is a key ingredient to effectively playing American football. Be it for ball intervention, tackling, scoring, and even getting to the end zone, this quality is very much needed.

What about agility? In American football, you will be easily brushed aside if you are not quick enough to move swiftly from left to right, as it involves a lot of body movement and collision.

It is no news that top bookmakers like favor teams (in fixtures) with the most agile players. But what does it take to gain NFL-class agility?

Several training guidelines are needed for you to be able to play American football with increased speed and agility. 

Thankfully, this article lists five of the ways via which you can increase your speed and agility in American football.

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash


You need to have a solid stance before you can weave in and out and also cover distances. Engaging in photometric exercises helps to develop the muscles of your lower limbs so that you can have firm steps as you accelerate.

Plyometric exercises are not difficult to perform and can be done as often as possible. To do it, simply set up an elevated height in front of you, something as high as your knee level. 

Then stand a few yards away from it and hop onto it and back down to the floor. Do this  


Since speed involves covering more ground, engaging in squats helps to develop the leg muscles that help in sustaining this speed as you cover more ground.

To perform this exercise properly, stand with your legs slightly apart, hands akimbo, heads up and your buttocks slightly pushed back, then slowly lower your hips in that stance.

Ensure that as you lower your upper half, your buttocks go as low as your knees and your knees do not arc forward to the extent of going past your toes.

Lower your upper body slowly and in the same stance, and maintain a slow but steady ascent. Do this repeatedly as your strength can carry you and increase the count on subsequent occasions.

Straight Sprints

Yes! Nothing beats developing your speed for an American football game than sprinting down a field. This is because it gives you a sense of involvement in a real game.

To do this, visit a field or an area where you can run straight for up to 50 yards. Now, take a starting point and sprint down the field’s length.

Your aim is not just to run fast but also to run in an excellent form; hands slicing through the air swiftly, knees rising waist high, and swift strides covering a lot of ground in each step.

Do this from end to end with a few minutes of rest in between sprints. Also, take note of the number of sprints that your body can carry and strive to add to it on subsequent workouts.


Resisted Sprints

In American football, you are automatically a target as long as you have got the ball with you. As a result, you are certain to encounter an opponent preventing you from moving forward. 

That is where this drill comes in! It develops your ability to free yourself from resistance by opponents, thereby also developing your agility.

You will need a partner to make this effective. Let your partner stand in front of you with arms on your shoulder in a pushing stance. Then try to run forward as your partner increases the intensity of the push. 

Both you and your partner should start with smaller intensity and then graduate into the full force of freeing yourself from the push.

Wavy Sprints

Instead of just running in a straight line, this type of sprint focuses more on your ability to elude the opponents while running, thereby developing your agility.

To do this, you will need at least six cones arranged 5 meters apart from each other in a straight line. Now, start from the right side of the first cone and run in between the first and the second cone onto the left side of the cones. Your running pattern will be in a wavy format, moving from right to left.

Do this till you reach the last cone. Ensure that you sprint the length of the drill, only stopping and the side of the last cone.

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