Practicing sprinting drills can give you that much-needed extra edge over your competitors. This article lists the various sprinting drills that one can practice to improve speed, agility, and power. It also describes effective sprinting drills for some of the most popular sports around the world.
Sprinting is nothing but running fast for a short distance. Performing sprinting drills help improve speed and agility, which is especially beneficial to athletes and sportsmen. These drills are helpful in sports which require players to move rapidly with quick acceleration and strength. Other than their athletic benefits, these exercises are also helpful in weight management, along with providing general fitness and flexibility.
Given below are some of the most widely used sprinting drills for increasing one’s speed, agility, and stamina.
General Sprinting Drills
The vertical leap strengthens the leg muscles, especially the lower leg muscles. It involves jumping vertically, keeping your feet close together.
➡ Start with your feet together and the knees slightly bent.
➡ Take a vertical leap, jumping as high as you can.
➡ Land on the balls of your feet and repeat this drill 10-15 times.
➡ You can either land on the same spot or a little further than your original position.
This is one of the best exercises to develop your sprinting power and speed. It involves running by taking leaps in the forward direction, such that you remain off the ground for as long as possible.
➡ Start this exercise by running, taking long strides. Try to cover as much ground as possible, ensuring that you land on the balls of the feet.
➡ You should be in the air most of the time while performing this exercise.
➡ Run for a distance of at least 25 meters before resting. Repeat the drill 2-3 times.
This helps in improving your speed and reach while moving laterally. It involves taking leaps to your left and your right alternately and landing on one foot.
➡ Stand with your feet together.
➡ Jump as far as possible to your left, landing on your left foot.
➡ Now repeating the same motion, jump to your right, landing on your right foot.
➡ Repeat this drill 10-15 times, each time aiming to take longer jumps than before.
Butt kicks are helpful in developing knee strength and flexibility. It involves running in a manner such that one of your legs swings back and the heel touches the buttocks.
➡ For this exercise, you need to be jogging in place.
➡ While jogging, extend your legs such that the heel touches your buttocks.
➡ Ensure that when the heel touches your buttocks, your upper leg (thigh) is vertical to the ground.
➡ Do this for about a minute before resting. If needed, you can repeat this 2-3 times.
Skips help to develop correct foot movement while working on the muscles of the lower legs. It involves skipping at the same place so that the thigh of the lifted leg comes parallel to the ground and the lower leg remains vertical to the ground.
➡ Skip in your place making sure to land on the balls of your feet.
➡ Bend your knee and lift your leg such that the thigh is parallel to the ground and the lower leg remains vertical to the ground.
➡ Do as many skips as possible within a minute. Rest before repeating the drill.
This improves your balance, strengthens the knees, and improves flexibility of the feet. This exercise requires you to use a box on which you can step up and land back on the ground.
➡ Start by stepping (with one foot) on a raised platform using the balls of your feet.
➡ Now lift your other leg off the ground and balance your whole body for a few seconds.
➡ Step down and repeat this drill using the other leg.
Sports-Specific Sprinting Drills
There are various sprinting drills that are designed specifically to enhance skills required in a particular sport. These exercises improve endurance, flexibility, power, and overall performance. Given here are some widely used sprinting drills for some of the most popular sports.
Soccer involves unpredictable quick moves and turns. A player needs speed, strength, and agility to compete in this game. Here are a few soccer drills that will help you to improve on your short distance sprints, lateral movement, and sudden turnings.
This sprint is helpful in developing swift body movements, especially lateral movements. It involves practicing running in a zig-zag manner using cones as markers.
➡ Keep 5 – 8 cones in a zig-zag manner and place them 4 – 8 meters apart.
➡ Start from cone 1 and sprint around each of the cones to reach the last cone in the least possible time.
➡ Come back to the first cone and repeat this drill 5 – 10 times.
This drill is helpful in performing quick turns and changes of direction, along with developing your balance.
➡ Set up 4 cones in a square shape and place them 6 – 8 meters apart. Place another cone at the center of the square.
➡ Start at cone 1 and sprint across the cones as shown, and return to cone 1.
➡ Repeat the drill 4 – 5 times.
This is a game that requires players to sprint at a high speed over a considerable distance without losing balance. Success in this game depends on quick acceleration, and running at top speed consistently.
Box jumps are useful in developing leg muscle strength and power. It involves jumping up and down on a box.
➡ Use a large box, about 2 – 3 feet high, that will not move around while jumping on it.
➡ Stand a foot away from the base of the box and jump on the box such that your feet land on the edge of the box.
➡ Remain in this position for about 2 – 3 seconds, and then jump back to the ground and repeat the drill.
This drill helps to develop your endurance and leg muscle power. It involves running up a hill or any structure with a slope.
➡ Choose a track or path on the hill that has a 30-degree angle or more.
➡ Sprint for a distance of 20 – 30 meters, and then come back jogging to the base.
➡ Repeat this drill 3 – 5 times.
Baseball requires players to run with explosive acceleration and sprint over short distances. The sprinting drills for baseball focus on moving quickly around the base and being fast on the outfield.
This drill helps increase the running speed around base paths. It involves running at full speed, along with taking sharp turns quickly around the base.
➡ You can practice this alone or in a team.
➡ Start at the home plate and sprint around the bases, touching every base.
➡ If you are doing this in a team, as soon as you reach the home plate, the next player in line starts the drill.
Mountain climbers help in developing powerful muscles and explosive acceleration. It involves imitating the action of climbing a steep ascent.
➡ Start by assuming a push-up position.
➡ Now lift one of the legs and bring the knee underneath your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds.
➡ Now push both feet from the ground, and at the same time interchange the position of the legs, bringing the other leg under the chest.
➡ Repeat this drill for 1 – 2 minutes and rest before repeating.
The game of basketball requires players to move with speed, with quick acceleration in different directions, along with being precise while in motion. The sprinting drills for basketball focus on improving running speed and quick acceleration.
Wall marches help you to develop strong knees, thighs, and hips. They help to correct your running posture as well.
➡ Stand facing a wall with your feet about 2 feet away from the wall.
➡ Place both hands on the wall at chest height. Your body should be leaning forward at an angle of around 45 degrees.
➡ Lift one of your knees up towards the chest and hold this position for 2 – 3 seconds.
➡ Bring your raised leg back to the starting position swiftly, and lift the other knee up. Repeat this motion for about 2 – 3 minutes.
Suicide drills help players develop great stamina and footwork, while making quick changes in direction.
➡ Stand at the baseline. Sprint to the free throw line, touch it, and return to the baseline.
➡ Now sprint to the half-court line, touch it, and return to the baseline.
➡ Similarly, sprint to the opposite free throw line, touch it, and return to the baseline.
➡ Finally, sprint to the opposite baseline, touch it, and return to your baseline.
➡ Take a few minutes rest and repeat the drill.
Success in the game of tennis demands great power, stamina, and an ability to move around quickly around the court. Sprinting drills for this game focus on improving endurance and making quick change of direction to cover the court area quickly.
Spider drill helps to cover the court area quickly. It involves running on your side of the court to touch all the corners of the court.
➡ Stand at the point where the center line and the service line intersect, forming the letter T.
➡ Sprint to the net and back to the center of the baseline, and then come back to the starting point.
➡ Now sprint to the two side lines and return to the starting point.
➡ Similarly, sprint and touch the diagonal points, i.e. the left and right net posts and the left and right baseline corners, always returning to the starting point after touching each corner.
➡ Repeat the drill 5 – 6 times.
Shuttle runs help improve your stamina, footwork, and quick change of direction.
➡ Start at the center of the baseline. Sprint to the service line, touch it and run back to the baseline.
➡ Now sprint to the net and back to the baseline.
➡ Similarly, run to the opposite service line and sprint back to the baseline of your side of the court.
➡ Finally, sprint to the opposite baseline and come back to the starting point.
Badminton is a game of precision, fast reflexes, and great footwork. Practicing these drills would help you improve your performance in a real game.
Four Corners Drill
This drills aims to enhance footwork and quick movement across the court.
➡ Stand at the center of your side of the court.
➡ Now reach out and touch each of the corners and return to the starting point. Try to return to the starting point taking a three-step sequence.
➡ Repeat this drill 8 – 10 times.
In and Out Ladder Drills
Ladder agility drills help improve agility and coordinated foot movement. It involves laying a rope ladder on the ground or markings in the shape of a ladder, and running in and out of the squares of the ladder.
➡ Stand one foot away from the bottom of the ladder.
➡ Jump into the first square with both feet, and then jump towards the second square with your feet landing outside the second square.
➡ Jump into the third square with both feet inside the square.
➡ Repeat this motion of jumping in and out of the ladder squares and return to the starting position.
➡ Repeat this drill 5 – 6 times.
Apart from increasing your speed and power, and improving performance in your chosen sport, sprinting drills also help burn calories and increase one’s cardiovascular capacity. They also help build mental toughness and endurance, as the body is pushed to the limit. Sprinting drills are also one of the quickest ways to exercise your body. So put on your running shoes now, and sprint to victory!