Cone Drills for Improving Agility and Running Form [Video]

Top Cone Drills for Field Athletes 

At Higher Power Training we place a high emphasis on running fundamentals early in our athletes’ time with us. As a result, we love to utilize cone drills to teach them fundamental running based movement skills that take place in ground based athletics.  These include:

  1. Running forwards
  2. Running backwards
  3. Shuffling sideways
  4. Running sideways

Cone drills help us slow down these skills to help our athletes acclimate to their execution. Beginners can move through these drills at a slower pace in order to emphasize body position, foot strike, and other technical aspects of the drill.  Meanwhile, our advanced athletes can move through these drills with speed to train the central nervous system, and even incorporate an element of conditioning.

Another fundamental skill we emphasize is learning to transition from one movement to the next. This may involve cutting or simply decelerating and repositioning your center of gravity to accelerate in another direction.  Perhaps in another pattern.  This article focuses on our use of cone drills for running forwards, backwards, sideways, and making those transitions between movements.  

Cone Line Drills

The best drill to teach beginning athletes to learn fundamental running skills are Cone Line Drills. Cone line drills have 2 or more cones on a straight line. Furthermore,  in my opinion, they are the best drill for any skill athlete.  Here’s why: 

  • Minimal equipment required:  1-4 cones or some sort of marker
    • Make sure your athletes are wearing the right shoes for lateral movement.  I grabbed one of my trainers before he was about to squat and he had lifting shoes on in a couple videos.
  • Minimal space required:  20 x 1.5 yards of straight away (you only need about 1.5 yards of width per athlete)
  • Athletes of different skills and conditioning will be simultaneously trained
    • Newer athletes will start by slowing down the patterns to half speed or simply stepping the patterns as opposed to running them
    • Beginners may only do 1 or 2 reps
    • Higher skilled athletes will train full speed and may do more reps or cover more distance by adding a cone
  • Multiple athletes can be trained at once effectively, by varying the progression
  • Athletes can be trained efficiently, since you are only limited by your space and number of cones
  • These drills can add a heavy conditioning element by adding reps and manipulating rest time
  • They can incorporate other movements including backward hip skips, double leg bounds, power skips, carioca, bear crawls, crabwalks, etc.
  • Athletes have fun when you allow them to call-out the patterns of the next drill

In the chart below, I outline our progression of how we implement these cone drills with our athletes. You can easily print out the progressions below, and implement them with your athletes!  The videos below will show each movement in full.

Jason Ivesdal cone line drills chart

March Forward Backpedal


Lateral 2 Step Shuffle

Lateral 3-3 Side Run Step Outs

5-5 Forward Stick, Backpedal Stick

5-5-5 Forward Stick, Backpedal Stick, Forward

Lateral 5-5 Side Shuffle

Lateral 5-5 Side Run

5-5-10-10 Side Run, Side Shuffle, Forward Back

10-10-5-5 Bound, Backward Hop, Skip, Carioca

One Response

  1. Great post, Jason! I was aware of how cone drills can be used to become more agile and improve running but didn’t come across a proper article that shares a progression on how to implement them. Glad that you shared such informative tips on how to implement them. Thanks a lot 🙂

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