How to Improve Foot Speed And Have a Fun Time Doing It

Try This Speed Ladder Activity With Young Athletes

I believe that foot speed and quickness is trainable in young athletes.

One piece of training equipment that is useful in developing these qualities is a quickfoot ladder, also known as an agility ladder or a speed ladder.

A quickfoot ladder

There are many, many drills that can be performed through the ladder from those that are simple to some that are quite complicated and advanced. The ladder allows for forward stepping, side-stepping, hopping, jumping, etc, as well as combinations of these.

The drill that I find to be most popular amongst young athletes is a timed quickfoot ladder run.

For this activity, the only equipment required is a ladder and a stopwatch.

Getting ready to step through a quickfoot ladder The rules are:

  • The athlete can begin with a stationary standing start or a jogging “flying” start. (Let the athletes experiment).
  • The stopwatch starts with the first step into the ladder
  • The stopwatch stops on the first step out of the ladder.
  • The athlete must step in every space.
  • The athlete must step in each space only once.
  • A missed space = no time recorded.
  • Step on a rung/slat = no time recorded


Apart from this being a really enjoyable and challenging activity for the athletes, I find that it is fantastic for developing coordination, quickness of movement and concentration.

I don’t insist on good sprint mechanics during this activity. I simply want the athletes to move through the ladder as quickly as possible.


  • Young athletes really enjoy keeping and trying to better their personal best time for this activity. Keep an ongoing record of these.
  • Use a timed quickfoot ladder as a regular performance test.

Try this activity with your team or training group. I guarantee that it will be popular.

Let me know what you think

Do you use quickfoot ladders? What do you think of them? Do you have any favourite activities using them? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment.

Further reading

A Fun Sprints Lesson Plan For Kids E-Book (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

Click here to subscribe for free to the Coaching Young Athletes email list and receive a complimentary mini e-book!

Do you want that little bit extra? Learn about Coaching Young Athletes membership HERE.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: