What Is Agility in Football?

Agility is a football player's ability to make quick movements while maintaining balance and speed. Some examples of agile football activities include a running back dodging a defender, a cornerback's rapid change of direction and a lineman's ability to stay in front of a moving rusher. All these activities require quick movements without the drastic loss of balance or speed.

Agility in general requires a combination of balance, speed, coordination and strength. Agility differs from other physical abilities such as running or jumping in that it often involves several physical abilities. In football, an agile receiver needs strength to jump, hand-eye coordination to catch a pass and speed to continue running. Similarly, a tailback needs speed to accelerate past one defender, balance to spin around the next and strength to break the tackle of a third. Reflexes play a big part in agility as well and allow a player to move even quicker once he develops sufficient muscle memory.

Drills focused on increasing agility in a football player invariably involve leg workouts. While catching and pushing are essential in many football movements, a player's leg strength and footwork determine his agility more than anything else. Common drills have players sprint to certain points, change direction and then sprint again. Other drills have players move through a series of cones. Still others incorporate skills like catching or picking an item off the ground while running to improve balance.