12 Soccer Ladder Drills to Improve Agility (2024 Update)

One of the keys to being a successful soccer player is being able to bring the ball under control quickly and consistently.

From here you can either keep it glued to your feet or release it with an accurate pass.

Players need to have quick footwork, great coordination, and excellent agility to get in position or change direction at the drop of a hat.

Working on these aspects of the game will help you improve your game week after week. 

A great way to increase both your speed of footwork and agility is to incorporate an agility ladder into your practice sessions. 

There are many fun and effective soccer ladder drills you can do to improve your game.

Before we move onto drills, let's take a look at the benefits of using an agility ladder and why it is important to focus on your footwork in the first place.

Benefits of Using Ladder Drills

While training with an agility ladder will help increase speed and stamina, it also helps improve lots of other aspects of your game.

These include coordination, balance, agility, and quickness.

To be able to control the ball better, you will need both quick and coordinated footwork. 

Excellent agility as equally important to help you speed up, slow down, and get in the right positions.

Your balance and strength also help with this as does your speed -- the ability to move at pace in one particular direction.

Quickness or your ability to react and change positions is very important for a soccer player.

Combined together, all these small improvements in your game will see you play and perform better.

If you don't have an agility ladder on hand, you can always set out cones in place of one.

You can also work through all the footwork patterns without any equipment at all.

12 Soccer Ladder Drills for Players

These exercises get progressively harder with some focusing on your speed and others on your balance or change of direction.

When working through them, start off slowly to get a feel for the footwork before gradually increasing your speed.

Make sure to focus on your form and concentrate on placing your feet inside each rung of the ladder.

For these exercises, push off the balls of your feet and pump your arms at the same time.

Don't forget to keep your body relaxed and your head facing forwards.

With all that in mind, let's now move onto the drills.

1. One Step

As you warm up and start working your way through these exercises, it's a good idea to start with something simple. 

For this one, place one foot in each rung, alternating as you go. 

Don't raise your feet too high off the ground, just make sure each step is inside each rung.

Focus on getting your form right before increasing the speed.

2. Two Step

Here, you'll do the same as above but place both feet in each rung before moving onto the next. 

Make sure to pump your arms at the same time in coordination with your feet.

(When your right leg comes up, your left arm should raise at the same time and vice versa). 

You should be light on your feet, explosive and push off from your toes.

3. Side Steps

Very similar to the last exercise, this one sees you again place both feet in each rung before moving onto the next. 

The only difference is that you approach the agility ladder sideways on. 

Again, you'll want your arms and legs to work in coordination. 

Make sure to work through the ladder both ways so each leg gets to lead.


4. One Foot Hop

For this one, you want to hop forward and place the same foot in each rung.

You will then return back through the ladder on your other foot after you've completed it. 

This exercise helps improve both balance and strength at the same time. 

You can also vary things up by either hopping sideways through the ladder or with both feet in each rung.

5. Jumping Jacks

Another drill that helps improve your balance, strength and coordination are jumping jacks. 

These see you jump with both feet inside the ladder before springing forward, landing with both feet to either side of the next rung. 

You then want to advance through the ladder alternating between your feet being in and out of the rungs. 

As you do this, make sure to raise your arms above your head as you jump, as with normal jumping jacks. 

6. The Icky Shuffle

A bit more complicated than the ones above, the Icky Shuffle demands a lot more coordination.

Start off to the side of the agility ladder before moving in, out, and diagonally up through it. 

Starting from the left side, shuffle to the right, placing both feet inside the same rung. 

You then almost instantly place your right foot outside of the rung and push off it.

As you do so, place your left foot in the rung above and bring your right foot up into it afterwards. 

You then take your left foot and place it to the outside of the rung and then use it to push forward.

As you do this, place your right foot in the rung above, repeating the movement from then on.

If you're struggling, work through it slowly until you've got it before increasing the pace.

7. The Backwards Icky Shuffle

Once you've mastered the movement of the Icky Shuffle, and have picked up the pace a bit, it is time to try it backwards. 

You again repeat exactly the same steps as above, but in reverse this time! 

This exercise is particularly great for defenders as they often need to backpedal in games. 

This is whether to hold off an attacker or position themselves for a header. 

8. Single Leg Shuffle

For this exercise, one of your feet stays outside of the ladder as the other one taps in and out as you advance through it. 

Lining up on one side of the ladder, quickly touch your foot inside the rung and then out again before moving onto the one above.

While this foot is tapping in and out, the other keeps pace with it and advancing in a straight line. 

Once you have completed the ladder as quick and accurate as possible, make sure to work through it with your other foot too.

9. Lateral In and Out

Another great drill that will help with both your coordination and lateral movement is the Lateral In and Out. 

For this you want to face the agility ladder side on. 

Quickly tap both feet in each rung and then out again, advancing your way through it. 

Try and go as quick as possible, focusing on getting the technique right as you do so.

10. Crossover

To finish off the drills, we have the Crossover. 

While not too complicated, this one is very important to work on as players often have to cross their feet over. 

With this exercise you again approach the agility ladder sideways on. 

Here though, each foot only lands in one rung with you then placing your other foot in the next rung. 

To do this one foot has to come across the body and in front of your other foot. 

Make sure to practice it on both sides as this one is fantastic for both your balance and coordination. 

Boys doing agility training on their school's soccer pitch

11. Footwork and Skill Combo

This drill combines ladder footwork with ball footwork by incorporating dribbling sections. 

The ladder aspect is simple. Players run from the starting point to the base of the ladder, and then get through it as quickly as possible. 

Once out the other side, players sprint to the cone that’s five yards ahead of them. At the cone, they pick up the ball, dribble at the mannequin, and use a skill move to beat it, before dribbling through the cone weave. 

After hitting the end of the cone weave, players turn around and complete the entire circuit in reverse. Players must return the ball to the same position that they picked it up. 

When each player completes the full drill, the next player begins. 

If you have a large squad, consider setting up multiple grids and running them simultaneously. 


12. Double Ladder Relay

Ladder drills are useful but players can get bored of them if you run them too often. 

So, you’ve got to mix up your approach every now and again. 

This ladder drill is fun but highly beneficial. It has a competitive element, which often brings out the best in your players. 

Set down a starting cone and place a ladder five yards in front of it, followed by another ladder five yards in front of that. 

Right next to these ladders, create another identical setup. 

These serve as circuits for opposing teams. 

Players divide into two teams and line up behind the starting cones of each. 

On the coach’s whistle, the first players from each team start. At the first ladder, they perform The Icky Shuffle (drill number 6), and at the second, they perform The Backwards Icky Shuffle (drill number 7). 

When they reach the end of the circuit, players sprint back to the starting point, and clap hands with their teammates. Then, the next players set off. 

The first team to complete the circuit with all of their players wins. 



Well there you have it, ten top soccer ladder drills for you to work through to improve your foot quickness and agility.

By working on these exercises regularly, you'll increase your speed, stamina, and strength. 

Doing so will see improvements in your play and performances week in and week out. 

As quick and coordinated footwork is key to being a brilliant soccer player, it is well worth adding some agility ladder drills to your training sessions.

Looking for More? 7 Soccer Agility Drills for Quick Movement

Further Reading: 123 Soccer Drills for All Ages and Skill Levels (With Images)

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