4 posts :: Page 1 of 1
By: Likes:
  (Read 6392 times)  

Off Season drills to build Quickness

Tom (or anyone),
Im helping a college aged player this off season. His coach told him he needs to work on his quickness. If a player came to you and asked how to build quickness what would you tell them? He is also a Dman if that helps.

I’ve suggested the basics leg exercises like vertical jump and lunges then the typical squats. Should I add 1 and 2 leg cone hops? Split leg shuffles?
What else could I add to the routine?

Registered: 04/13/11
Posts: 38
By: Likes:

quick (kwk)

adj. quick·er, quick·est

1. Moving or functioning rapidly and energetically; speedy.

2. Learning, thinking, or understanding with speed and dexterity; bright: a quick mind.

3.a. Perceiving or responding with speed and sensitivity; keen.
3. b. Reacting immediately and sharply: a quick temper.

4.a. Occurring, achieved, or acquired in a relatively brief period of time: a quick rise through the ranks; a quick profit.
4.b. Done or occurring immediately: a quick inspection.

I like these definitions as they imply both speed of thinking and a subsequent reaction (implying the ability to analyze the situation, make a decision, then physically react.) Check out the article below and you can also look up some motor learning texts to develop an understanding of what quickness is and how to best train it. Jack Blatherwick, with a PhD in sports physiology and an interest in hockey, might also have some articles online regarding this topic. Jack is at: http://www.dphockey.com/expert/xjack.htm

QUICKNESS TRAINING - Learn how to maximize your ability to react and move quicker

Training for quickness is not the same as training for absolute speed. Quickness relies heavily on immediate movement reactions. Think of quickness as the first phase of speed. Learn how to get quicker!

By: Jamie Hale www.bodybuilding.com (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hale12.htm)

Ask almost any coach or athlete and they will probably agree that quickness is a key attribute to successful performance in sports (this does not necessarily apply to low intensity endurance events). Quickness is defined as rapid reaction and movement time in relation to a given stimulus.

Training for quickness is not the same as training for absolute speed. Quickness relies heavily on immediate movement reactions. Think of quickness as the first phase of speed.

Neural Training

Training the nervous system is very important in the development of quickness. Proper neural training offers the following:

Instantaneous recruitment of a maximal number of motor units.
Increasing the firing rates of motor units.
Increase in intermuscular coordination (ability to synergistically use multiple muscle groups in performing movements).

Multiple rehearsal of movements result in stored memories in the brain called engrams. Development of engrams are one of the reasons it is so important to practice movements perfectly. If you practice with flawed technique your technique will be flawed when competing. Training quickness in short intervals results in utilization of the Phosphagen energy system (Refer to my article called muscular energetic).

Developing Quickness

Quickness is genetically determined to a degree, but proper training can greatly increase quickness. Drills geared for pure quickness development should last 6-8 seconds. Training for quickness endurance could be longer in duration. The placement of quickness drills in training varies. Athletes are faced with a multitude of different situations when performing; therefore placement of quickness drills varies accordingly.

Most of the time I incorporate quickness drills in warm-ups preceding weight training. When training to improve quickness endurance this type of training is often placed at the end of a workout. When under competitive situation that quick cut, pass or punch in the closing moment of an event (i.e. Boxing) can determine the winner. By placing quickness movements at the end of a workout the preceding competition conditions can be emulated to a small degree.

Before developing a quickness program, athlete evaluation is helpful. There is an abundant amount of testing procedures that are used to measure quickness. Tests include reaction drills, start and stop and quick feet drills. Different circumstances require different tests. To get an idea of an athletes quickness levels I like to observe them participating in their sporting event. I also use reaction drills such as dodge ball, ball drops, and shadowing drills.

Once I establish the trainee's level of quickness, I use the priority principle in training. The principle implies that weaknesses receive priority over well-developed motor qualities. Minimal time is spent on quickness development if high levels of quickness already exist. If the athlete is weak in this area we would usually train this quality 2-3 times per week.

Shock method training (plyometrics) can be helpful in improving quickness. Keep in mind proper shock method training can be useful, but improper use of this training method can result in decrease in performance and injury ( Refer to shock method training at maxcondition.com for info concerning plyometrics). A good strength and fitness base is necessary before performing this type of training.


In summary, quickness can be enhanced with proper training. Training the nervous system is the main emphasis in quickness training. Drills should last 6-8 seconds to improve quickness. This motor quality is very important in most sports. It is time we learn to maximize athlete's ability to react and move quickly.

Click Here For More Speed & Agility Articles!


Brown,L,E,. Ferrigno,V,A,. Santana,J,C. (2000) Training for speed agility and quickness. Human Kinetics.

Foran,B. (2001) High Performance Sports Conditioning. Twist,P. Ch.6 Lightning Quickness. Human Kinetics.

Hale,J (2001) www.maxcondition.com. Real Stength Training for Boxers 1and 2. Jamie Hale
Copyright 2002 Jamie Hale


Quickness Training.

M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2059
Location: Calgary AB Canada
By: Likes:

I don't have the background / expertise that Dean has, but here is a piece of the material I have been using. Dean, any feedback is welcomed.

Regular Member
Registered: 08/24/09
Posts: 79
By: Likes:


These exercises are fine and thanks for posting them. However, I don't know if Aberdeen is asking for actual SAQ activities or needs to incorporate a yearly training plan (or an off-season plan) in conjunction with this training... he does ask about specific exercises. Myself, if I am in that position (specific exercises and SAQ activities) I would either have the athlete hire a qualified, professional sport scientist, or at least have one look over the program I put together. Although I have training in exercise physiology, I graduated in the late 1990's with my Master's and things are always changing... so don't listen to me as I am a decade old and 'out of the loop'!

Aberdeen, wouldn't this college-aged played have been tested by his college and been provided a workout plan specific to him and his needs? I know we used to do that when I coached college... Hmm?

As per Dave's enclosure, I like to add reaction activities that require thinking during quickness routines in order to stimulate decision-making under time pressure. I use several techniques (colours, numbers, letters, symbols - all 'marking' different locations - and the athlete must hear my command or see what I 'show' and then move to that area... then react again or recover back to 'home base' before reacting again. This is done under time pressure. I also incorporate having the athlete close their eyes then open and react, face one way, turn around and react; mirror a partner; shadow / follow a leader; etc.) There are a million exercises to put into practice...

However, the foundation of quickness still comes back to muscular strength (including components of flexibility and elasticity), neural pathway development and body mass (power to weight ratio).

Aberdeen, I suggest your athlete get tested by someone qualified as you need baseline measures; then have that person design a strength and conditioning program (including diet and hydration as this is a huge component that often goes overlooked) for them; include timelines and goals of where they should be by certain dates. Retesting should be done at regular intervals to see where the athlete is - this will also tell you if the program is on track.

Then incorporate an SAQ portion of their training based on proper yearly planning principles (sequencing). Merely doing these exercises without the support of a scientific training program (yearly training plan) will not show many (if any) gains and will not result in any long-term improvement (any gains will disappear after the SAQ drills end). One also needs to know WHEN to schedule SAQ within the YTP... you might be able to help coach your athlete through the SAQ activities that you have designed / stolen / have proofed by a pro...

I could say more, but I don't know your educational / experiential background nor do I know much about your athlete. I am not trying to be coy or insulting here, but just want you to be informed - for both you and your athlete's sake. You will have to sort through the info here and elsewhere to determine the best way to proceed. I wouldn't want you to unintentionally do 'more harm than good' to this athlete - I know your intentions are good - and this athlete is lucky to have someone like you who takes an active interest in their development!

You can read the following, regarding force production, as a primer. Again, not sure of your needs, but a basic neuro-motor or exercise physiology text can help improve your knowledge!


Force accelerates mass. The heavier the mass, the smaller the acceleration. The greater the force, the greater the acceleration.

When looking at motor skills, the forces involved include those generated by muscles (the muscular tension), gravity (both on the body and objects the body interacts with), internal body reaction forces and forces from interacting with external objects.

Although analysis of movements can become very complicated, general principals can be taken from the science literature and applied in a straight forward manner.

Muscles work by creating tension. The result of the tension depends on the load of the muscle. The load is the sum of internal body forces (e.g. the weight of the body parts involved) and external forces (e.g. holding weights) that act against the muscle. The results are defined as follows:

Tension compared to load ---------- Muscle length ---------- Action
Greater --------------------------------- Contracts --------------- Concentric
Equal ------------------------------------ Stays same ------------ Isometric
Less -------------------------------------- Lengthens ------------- Eccentric

Bones are rotated around joints because of the forces acting upon them. Muscles connect over one or more joints and as a muscle contracts (concentric action), it pulls the bones that it connects to together. This action results in the bones rotating around the joints that the muscle spans. Alternatively, muscles can resist other forces and either keep their length constant (isometric) in which case no movement is caused, or lengthen in a controlled way (eccentric) where forces outside the muscle cause the movement but the muscle slows down that movement.

As an example of the above, imagine picking up an object. At first, the muscles doing the work contract as the object is lifted. This is concentric action. Then the object is held in a fixed position. Some muscles are still creating tension to counteract the weight of the object but because everything is static, their length does not change. This is isometric action. Finally, the object is lowered back to the ground. The muscles are still resisting gravity so the object does not just fall to the floor, but the tension is less than gravity. The object is lowered and the muscles lengthen. This is eccentric action.

Muscles usually have complex effects on movement do to their geometry. For example, it is common for muscles to cause rotations in more than one plane around a joint and some to affect rotations around more than one joint. Presumably this is due to evolution packing in as much muscle capability into the given space. It requires the control system (nervous system) to often activate several muscles to achieve a seemingly simple movement.

When looking at a movement, muscles are divided into three groups based on their contribution to that movement:

Agonist prime mover: these muscles generate the bulk of the force in the direction of the desired movement.

Agonist synergist: these muscles assist the prime movers, providing less force but adding control.

Antagonist: these oppose the desired movements for control and for protection.

In general, group prime movers and synergists together and refer to them simply as agonists.

Good luck and let us know how you do!

M.Ed (Coaching)
Ch.P.C. (Chartered Professional Coach)
Game Intelligence Training

"Great education depends on great teaching."

Active Member
Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 2059
Location: Calgary AB Canada
4 posts :: Page 1 of 1