Agility training is not just for athletes or extreme competition, like one may assume. While agility movements conjure up ideas of speed and endurance, these exercises also go hand in hand with stability and coordination. Together, emphasis on these elements becomes practical to general mobility. Just walking, or even briskly jogging, can require the need to make quick direction changes, or the ability to properly shift weight from one foot to another.
Think about how often you reach down to pick something up. Maybe you’re shifting onto one foot to reach better. Are you bracing yourself and shifting your weight? Think about times you turned a corner or walked down a path and needed to quickly dart out of someone’s way. Maybe you’re in a fast-moving crowd and are trying to not only keep with the pace but trying to slide through people without colliding.
These are smaller, basic ways that agility, stability, and coordination come into play in practical situations. Another nice thing about agility training is that it can act as a cardio component—one that requires little to no equipment at that! By challenging yourself to move as quickly and efficiently as possible, often against your body weight, you are also getting in great cardio.
When it comes to derby agility drills, the possibilities are endless; on skates, off skates, equipment, no equipment…there are many ways to go! But keep in mind, especially when doing training for medium to large groups, what will be effective and translate well for multiple skill levels. Agility drills can become more complex the more experienced a skater is, but it is also worth revisiting basics and breaking down movements. These are some basic agility practice ideas that many different types of derby skaters can benefit from:
1. Out-in agility ladders
The act of moving in and out of squares enables spatial control and efficiency in small movements. On skates, it can help prepare for moving through tight spaces in the pack. Off skates, it can help one enhance balance while staying low (or while remaining in a soft-knee, loaded position).
2. Side-to-side agility hops
Equipment and setup-wise, this is an easy exercise since all you need is something as simple as a crack in the floor as a visual aid. Much like out-ins and other ladder drills, this helps with balance while staying small and tight. However, this doubles, in a way, as a protective and mobility-enhancing movement. Progressing to single leg/single foot side-to-side hops puts more focus and more control on stabilizing the ankles and knees.
Lateral skate hops, skater jumps, skater leaps. You may know them by different names, but the movement itself mimics exactly what it’s named for: the stride and crossover motion performed when skating around the track. On the one hand, it’s great practice in crossover form, but it also helps with quick direction change and weight shifting.
These basic moves are great starters for all levels when it comes to agility drills, and serve both skaters and regular gym-goers alike. Want a challenge? Join us for the exclusive Member’s Only Agility Challenge starting soon! If you’re at all interested, check it out! We’ve got a ton MORE exercises, habit builders AND potential friends where that came from. Hope to see you on the inside!