5 movement drills to help gain football speed

Football is grounded in quickness more than pure speed. Getting to the spot first gives a player a huge advantage over his opponent.

Bren Boudro of Stack.com recently broke down five moments any athlete can improve the skills needed to be fast off the line and ahead of the competition.

Initial start

A band-resisted medicine ball drill helps players stay low, launch with the hips and increase power. Here’s the steps:

  • Wrap a band around a firm post or use a partner to resist you
  • Get a weighted medicine ball, preferably one you can throw without damaging
  • Start in a low, athletic stance with your power leg slightly behind your opposite leg
  • On “go,” drive your hips forward fast and punch the ball forward as far as you can.
  • Use the ball’s momentum to carry you forward and sprint two to three yards
  • Repeat

Link to original article in USAFootball.com.

Quick cuts

Maintaining momentum while changing directions is critical for runners and receivers. Use this sprint reaction drill to develop lower body lateral power, faster reaction times and faster cuts.

  • Have a partner stand 10 to 15 yards in front of you with a tennis ball in each hand
  • Sprint toward your partner
  • Just before you get to him, your partner drops one of the tennis balls to the left or right
  • Plant your outside foot, make a break toward the ball and catch it

Coming downhill

Defenders, especially linebackers, need to be able to transition from a backpedal into a forward sprint. Use your arms to help your legs make this adjustment.

  • Face your partner with a resistance band around both of you
  • Set three cones behind your partner about 10 yards away, one to the right, one to the left and one directly behind him
  • On “go,” start your backpedal with your partner resisting you
  • Your partner yells “left,” “right” or “middle”
  • Transition from a backpedal to a forward sprint to the designated cone as fast as you can

Acceleration through holes

Develop lateral power, running efficiency and explosiveness while running with the ball by using your upper body to drive your lower body.

  • Set up five cones about five yards apart in a zigzag pattern
  • Get a weighted medicine ball, one that you can slam
  • Start on one foot at Cone 1
  • Bound from cone to cone and slam the ball outside of your foot at each cone
  • On the last cone, slam the ball away from your body and take off in a sprint


This ladder drill with a medicine ball helps build a separation between upper and lower body movement efficiency along with foot speed, quickness and agility.

  • Perform the “Ickey Shuffle” through a speed ladder while keeping your head up
  • As you move through the ladder, your partner randomly tosses you the ball at chest height
  • Catch the ball and punch it back to your partner while maintaining footwork pattern

Joe writes for USA Football.