Designing the Right Speed and Agility Training Program

Developing The Right Speed and Agility Training Programs For Young Athletes


wil fleming 2


Designing a speed and agility training program can be difficult with young athletesWithout a plan in mind of how to train a speed session, what can start as a speed session can crumble into a conditioning workout, with no lasting effects on an athlete’s ability to move quickly.


Speed and Agility Training Program


When I am coaching athletes in a youth speed and agility training program I find it necessary to first, break it down into the component parts that I would like to train, and second assess the size of the group that I will be working with.


Lets start with what we need to train.


Linear and Lateral Technique
The first thing we should address with any group of any size is the technical components that will make the athletes better and safer. For linear technique we must analyze the most common ways that linear speed are expressed:


Is it from a 3 point stance, 2 point stance, split stance, from a slower pace?


This will guide our use of acceleration training and allow us to coach the athletes on the proper start positions.


Lateral technique will focus on the lateral gait cycle and change of direction body positions. This type of training should be done with any group regardless of age and size of the group.


Speed and Agility Training Program 1


Linear and Lateral Power
The next phase of training will involve using different implements or tools to create more power for your athletes. Typically we will use sleds, weighted vests, medicine balls, or resistance bands to improve power in both the linear sprinting/acceleration and in lateral deceleration or acceleration


Speed and Agility Training Program 2


Linear and Lateral Reaction
When training reaction we are trying to improve the athletes ability to perceive the action and make the appropriate reaction. Drills in this category include change of direction with visual or verbal cues and acceleration drills on visual cues


Next lets move onto the size of the group, as this will determine the types of drills and equipment that we can use.


Less than 3 athletes
With less than 3 athletes training the coaching can be very intensive and the athletes can receive direction on technique with any and all drills. Very rarely in this situation will you be limited with the amount of equipment needed to complete a drill. Rest times will have to be accounted for through the training plan to make sure that the athletes get quality repetitions.


Speed and Agility Training Program 4


Small group- Less than 10-15 athletes
Training in groups smaller than 10 may limit your ability to train the group with equipment that you have on hand. If equipment is to be used it will be necessary to partner up the athletes or go in a rotation. Your ability to instruct will not be limited, but should be planned out in the training program for the day.


Large group- More than 15 athletes
With a group of more than 15 athletes restrictions on equipment become a primary concern, typically with groups this size or larger choices of equipment should be easily transportable (cones, small bands) and be plentiful. Instruction time should be mapped out before hand and should be deliberate. Large groups should be divided into smaller groups, this will allow for instruction between repetitions. Rest intervals in large groups are less necessary to plan because a normal rotation of drills and groups will allow for even, or positive rest periods.


Speed and Agility Training Program 3

With groups of any size it is important to approach a youth speed and agility training program with the same type of deliberate plan that is often reserved for strength training. Doing so will insure that your session will not turn into glorified conditioning work, but will instead develop real, true speed, wow coaches and grow your fitness business.


If you want to learn create your own training programs be sure to check out the Youth Speed Certification from the IYCA here;

Youth speed and agility training certification


3 Responses

  1. jorge says:

    Please can you send me drills of acceleration &
    reaction drills for sprinters.

    Prof.Jorge Velez
    Track Coach Youth
    IAAF-Level 2
    Lic. # 30159

  2. Dianne says:

    I am interested in training primarily HS level softball girls…..eventually exploring the college scenario. Are your drills designed for use in this sport. It is hard to find female, fast pitch softball specific drills.

    I am a CPT, and have been working with a high school team but only once a week. It’s the type of training I enjoy and would like to expand on this. My problem is that I only meet with them once a week and since the coach really only works on game specific drills…she looks to me to improve their strength, agility and speed. They do no other strength work ( except some if the girls who are college bound) so I unfortunately combine a little of both so we rarely get to focus on one type of training.

    So just checking on the sport appropriateness of this program. Thanks so much.

  3. Wil says:

    Thanks for the comment Dianne. I have used the drills in the IYCA speed and agility course for plenty of teams of different sports. I actually have used the progressions for both lower level softball (jr high) and high level (ranked high school) teams. I think this would be extremely beneficial to you to develop a program that is general for speed and specific to the needs of softball. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

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