Introduction to Training for Agility

What is Lateral Speed/Agility? - It’s the ability to change direction with minimum loss of speed and is part of a comprehensive soccer-specific speed development program. 

The 3 Skills of Lateral Speed/Agility

  1. Ball Possession Skills - Better ball control, faster the change in direction. 
  2. Reaction/Anticipation Skills - The faster the player anticipates and decides where to go the faster the change in direction. 
  3. Athletic Skills - The quicker the player can decelerate, control the body and re-accelerate the faster the direction change.  

Exercises to Improve Agility and Quickness

For effective soccer play, athletes must be able to keep their bodies under control in small spaces and during change of direction. It is important to start with proper biomechanics of footwork and multi-directional movement.  Once players have mastered the mechanics, they should work to build foot speed, acceleration and coordination. Finally, add linear, lateral and change of direction movements.

Start with Dynamic Warm-up/Flexibility Routine

#1 - Lateral Two-Legged Hop

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly flexed. Initiating the movement from the ankles only, hop as high as possible laterally. As soon as feet contact the ground repeat the action as quickly as possible moving back over the line in the other direction. Movement is side to side. Emphasis is on quick lateral movements while minimizing the time the feet spend on the ground. 

#2 - Lateral One-Legged Hop

Stand next to the line on the right foot and hop laterally over the line landing on the left foot. Upon contact with the ground, return as quickly as possible to the starting point, landing on the opposite foot. Do this with both legs.

#3 - Scissors

Start with one leg in front of the line and the other leg in back. Hop and then switch legs.

#4 - Hop Sequence

  1. Grasp soccer ball with both hand and hold at chest.
  2. Perform double leg hops in eight different directions. Vary the distance by use of cones or other objects as markers.
  3. For advanced level players, do the sequence with ball extended and/or single-legged.
  4. Repeat for required number of reps.

Get the full Soccer Agility Program from Performance Conditioning Soccer in the Amplified Soccer Market featuring:

  • Soccer Speed Development System Based on the Movements of the Game
  • Using Free Weights as a Tool to Improve Lateral Movement Performance in Soccer
  • 10 Exercises to Improve Agility and Quickness

Performance Conditioning Soccer’s mission is to improve soccer performance through the conditioning process. This process includes providing soccer-specific educational information for the 14 areas of conditioning including: developing power, strength/stability, speed, agility, endurance, proper nutrition and recovery methods, testing, injury prevention and more. Find out more at


Performance Conditioning Soccer

Ken Kontor is founder and president of Performance Conditioning Inc. His company is the world’s largest single source of sports-specific conditioning information. Among the educational resources provided are Performance Conditioning Volleyball, Cycling and Soccer newsletters now in their 14th year of publishing and 15 sports-specific conditioning books and training card systems. He is a founding member of the USA Volleyball Sports Medicine and Performance Commission and was instrumental in the establishment of the Volleyball Conditioning Accreditation Program (V.C.A.P.) curriculum offered through the USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation program. Among his contributions to this program was writing the curriculum. He has established the Off-bike Conditioning curriculum promoted by USA Cycling. In the past he has worked with USA Roller Sports and USA Triathlon producing conditioning specific newsletters. Prior to the establishment of Performance Conditioning Inc., Mr. Kontor was a founding father, executive director and publications editor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 14 years an organization of over 16,000 sport conditioning professionals. He was an original member of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist committee that established the internationally recognized C.S.C.S. credential. He has traveled extensively throughout the world including the former Soviet Union, East Germany and the Leipzig Institute of Sport, Hungary and Bulgaria with the purpose of introducing their strength and conditioning methods to the NSCA membership. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Inc. and the National Strength and Conditioning Association of Japan. He has lectured extensively on the conditioning of athletes throughout the world.