Arsenal FC Training Agility

Here’s a video of Arsenal FC training agility using a ladder. I’ve spoken about my thoughts on ladder use for soccer athletes previously here and here.  I will occasionally use a ladder in our warmups but rarely if ever when actually trying to develop speed or agility. That’s not to say that there isn’t carryover but I personally feel there are better means of developing those qualities. The ladder has a time and a place and it’s interesting to see how other clubs use them in training. The incorporation of the ball as well as non-regular patterns puts these ladder drills above most variations. I’m curious to hear others thoughts so post to the comments section.


  1. Albert

    Agreed Mike. The quick feet movements don’t have a great carryover to change of direction and definitely not to linear speed. I’m no expert but I see it as basically because there is little displacement of the body in these drills. A lot of movement of the feet in the same place gets you nowhere. The dexterity and agility that creates results in the game has mostly to do when you have the ball. In which case there are much more efficient drills and games you can play to develop it.

    The only ladder I’ve ever used that gave me results is an acceleration ladder where the rungs increased in distance apart. This helped with acceleration mechanics and gave you a reference as to where to place your feet to achieve the right angles. Our fitness manager then would personalize each players rungs to accomodate for differences in height and strength. Most of this was done pre season or off season and only a few players at a time.

    • I don’t see the use of a ladder as a tool for speed and agility but to develop footwork, fast feet and first step quickness. However even when trying to develop these skills I don’t like the use of a ladder. It takes away the thought process of moving your feet fast and places the emphasis for players on simply getting their feet in the rungs, and as you can see from the video, most players will have to stare at their feet to do this, which is not something you want in football. I much prefer doing these drills in an open space, emphasising fast feet but with their head up looking around to improve vision.

  2. mike (Author)

    I’m not sure there’d be much transfer to first step quickness. I’m not totally opposed to ladders. They have a time and place but for many higher level athletes they are quite remedial and don’t meet the intended purpose for most. I really like the idea of open space drills.

  3. I work with athletes semi-prof, in Italy, in relation to football. What you have highlighted on the utility of the ladder is valuable and true. In my experience I think that the ladder may have a utility only with low-profile athletes or in precarious working conditions (time and space), as sometimes happens to me!

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