If you are a young athlete, fast hands and feet benefit you in a variety of sports situations. Your quickness helps you intercept a throw in football, grab a rebound in basketball or steal a base in baseball. This type of quickness can be developed by incorporating speed drills and exercises into your practice sessions.
Hot potato is a classic child’s game, but a variation of this game will improve your reflexes and peripheral vision. Begin this exercise by standing in a circle with your teammates. You should be facing the center of the circle. Throw a foam ball to one of your teammates. After catching the ball, she should immediately throw the ball to someone else. Begin adding balls to the circle so three or four balls are being thrown around the circle simultaneously. You need to quickly catch and throw each ball before the next one comes your way. See how long your team can perform this exercise without dropping a ball. Try to better your time with each attempt.
Most team sports require you to quickly change directions on the court or field. For example, you need to change directions frequently in soccer and basketball when the ball is suddenly turned over. The cone dash is an exercise that improves your ability to change directions while running. Perform this exercise by placing one cone in the center of the field. Place four other cones about 10 yards away the center cone so they from a half circle around it. Each of these surrounding cones should labeled A, B, C and D. Run toward the center cone. As you approach this cone, your coach should yell out a letter and you must change directions to dash to the correct cone.
Catch Me If You Can
Sports often require you to go from standing still to suddenly sprinting across the field. Sometimes you even have to quickly get up off the ground to start running. The “catch me if you can” exercise improves your explosive speed. Practice this exercise by having a teammate stand about 3 feet in front of you. You should get down into push-up position behind your teammate. When your coach yells “Go!,” you both should sprint toward the other side of the field. Your goal is to tag your teammate before he reaches the other side. Switch positions with your teammate each time you try this exercise.
The ball drop is an exercise that improves both reaction time and explosive speed. Practice this exercise by having your coach stand about 5 yards in front of you. He should be holding a small ball that bounces, such as a racquetball. When your coach drops the ball, run toward it and try to catch it before it bounces twice on the floor. You are not allowed to dive for the ball. Increase the difficulty of this exercise by increasing the distance between you and your coach.