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Quickness games develop movement skills

This is an excerpt from Developing Agility and Quickness by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), and edited by Jay Dawes and Mark Roozen.

Games for Improving Quickness

Games that incorporate quickness skills are a fun way to increase athletes’ motivation and enthusiasm for training. The quickness games in this section also help athletes develop their situational-movement skills and body awareness.

Red Light, Green Light

This drill improves quickness and teaches athletes how to effectively accelerate and decelerate. Two cones are placed 40 yards (37 m) apart. Athletes should stand by one cone and the coach should stand by the other. On the green light command, the athletes sprint forward as far as possible before the coach yells red light! On this command, the athletes immediately stop in place. When the coach calls green light again, the athletes resume sprinting toward the second cone. The coach continues to call out commands until an athlete passes the second cone.

Knee Tag

This drill improves sport-specific speed and quickness for combative athletes. It also helps them learn to read and appropriately respond to their opponents’ movements. Four cones or markers are set up in a square, with sides 6 feet (2 m) long. Two athletes stand approximately 3 feet (1 m) apart in the center of the square, face each other, and assume staggered stances. At the whistle, one athlete attempts to touch the opponent’s knees (see photo). The opponent should dodge as needed to avoid being touched. The first athlete scores a point each time he tags the opponent’s knees. Athletes should perform the game for approximately 15 to 30 seconds and then switch roles. The game can be repeated multiple times. However, athletes should rest for 30 to 60 seconds between bouts. After each athlete has had equal opportunities to score, the one who has earned the most points wins.

Heads or Tails

This game develops first-step quickness and improves reaction time. Two cones are placed 20 to 40 yards (18–37 m) apart, and another cone is placed halfway between them. At the center cone, two athletes face each other with their hands outstretched and their fingertips touching directly over the cone (photo a). The athletes then assume an athletic position, dropping their hands down to their sides. The coach designates one player as heads and the other as tails. The coach flips a coin and calls out which side of the coin is facing up. The designated athlete turns (photo b) and attempts to sprint past the cone originally behind him before being tagged by the other athlete (photo c). Points are given to any athlete who makes it to the scoring zone without being tagged or to any player who tags the fleeing runner outside of the designated safe area. Athletes should repeat the game 6 to 12 times.

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