Being a coach for youth football is much harder than being a coach for teenage or adult teams. Agility and speed drills for youth football must be more specific because kids do not have the workout capacity that adults do. However, the vigorous part is choosing drills that will give the proper conditioning without making the kids overwork themselves.
Some very common agility and speed drills for youth football are done with a ladder or with boxes drawn on the ground with the dimensions of 18 inches x 18 inches. Running patterns with an agility ladder will build quickness of the feet and balance. One of the best ladder drills is known as Forward 2-in. You will have the kids run forward with two feet in each square at a time, as quick as they can. This is a good drill to start with because it is simple and safe for kids. You must teach the team not to drop their arms but to drive them backwards with each step. You want them to drive their arms using their shoulders, not their elbows. When you’re first starting, you can have the kids start with a slow speed to get them used to arm-leg coordination. Once the team is comfortable doing that, you can have them speed up. You just want to make sure that they do not pause between steps.
While the first agility and speed drill for youth football focuses more on agility, this next one focuses on speed. It is a common fact that when sprinting, a person will not hit their full speed until 30-40 yards into the run. A lot of times, especially with kids, distances of sprints never go this far, therefore, full speed sprinting is never practiced. This drill should be led into with a jogging or walking drill. To start with, have the kids run a 10-yard distance a couple of times. That shouldn’t be too rough if they’re athletes. Follow the 10-yard sprint with 20 yards, then 30 yards, then 40 yards and then 50 yards. If you have them gradually get to such long distances then you are decreasing the chance of injury. Eventually, have your team practice running 80-100 yards at full speed. Have the kids sprint to one side, walk back, rest for a couple of minutes and then repeat the process. If any of the kids have problems with this drill then you should find out if there is a physical issue like asthma that you should know about. Otherwise, the speed of your team should increase with time.
These agility and speed drills for youth football are effective and more importantly, safe for children. It is possible that you will have to slightly alter these drills to fit your team but the main ideas are pretty universal. If you repeat these drills very often then you should definitely see an improvement in the speed and agility of your team.