Agility & Balance Exercises for Kids

Kids can be clumsy, and as they get into playing sports, this can become more noticeable. If you're interested in improving your child's agility, balance, and overall coordination, there are some easy agility exercises that can help them improve quickly.

The trick with getting any kid to want to exercise is that it has to be fun. To make it fun you need to turn it into a game, make it a challenge, or introduce props that make it fun for them.

Agility Ladder Drills

An agility ladder is an excellent tool that can be used to increase your child's agility. Agility is even in the name ;) 

Here's a few simple agility ladder exercises your kids can do to improve their footwork, agility and speed:

  • Two foot forwards: Simply run through the ladder stepping with each foot in each square. Start slow and increase speed each run if you can.
  • One-legged forward hop: Hop through the ladder on one-leg, turn around and use the other leg to hop through the other way
  • Two foot sideways: Run laterally, or sideways through the ladder stepping with each foot in each square.
  • Icky shuffle: Moving forward but side to side through the ladder. Start on one side and step through the ladder back and forth stepping with both feet into the square and out the other side. Try this one going backwards as well for an advanced workout.
  • In and Outs: Hop two feet into the first square, then hop with both feet outside the ladder, then hop with both feet into the second square, repeat through each square moving forward. To make this move advanced, squat after you jump out

Some of these are hard to write out, so check out this agility ladder video to see examples of each of these and more.

Planks

Strengthening the core is key your balance. Doing planks, and variations of them, will help you and your children to quickly strengthen their core. 

Here are a few ways to execute a plank:

  • Standard plank: Lay on the floor with your elbows under your shoulders, hands flat on the floor and your body in a straight line from your heels to your head. Hold the position for as long as you can.
  • Side plank: Lay on your side on the floor with your one elbow directly under your shoulder. With your legs together lift your hips off the floor to make a straight line from your ankles to your shoulder. Hold for as long as you can.
  • Plank ups: Start in the standard plank position, push up onto your hands one at a time, then lower back to forearms one at a time, and repeat until tired.
  • Plank jacks: Start in a standard plan position and push up onto your hands. Using your toes and hips, jump both your legs out to the side making a V, and then jump them back in (just like you were doing a jumping jack).

There are other variations of the plank you could try out, but I recommend incorporating planks into your workout at least a couple times a week. Your core will thank you for it.

Figure Runs with Cones

Doing figure runs will help improve footwork and quickness. I'll keep this one simple. Start by placing your cones out in a zig zag pattern, then starting at the first cone, run as quickly as you can around the first cone, then the second, etc. until the end of your figure. 

You can experiment with different cone patterns as long as you're not running in a straight line. To make it more challenging, as you're running, reach down and touch each cone. 

To add some fun to this, get a friend or family member to time you to see how fast you can do it. Each day you do it, see if you can improve your times.

Squat Jumps

This is an excellent body weight exercise increase leg strength and help you improve balance. Here's how to do a squat jump properly:

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart (slightly wider is fine too)
  • Start by doing a standard squat by lowering down like you are sitting in a chair, but keeping your chest forward
  • At the bottom of your squat explode up jumping as high as you can
  • As you land begin your next squat
  • Repeat until tired

For this exercise I'd recommend doing a few sets. Do 10 or so jumps, rest, than do it again. Doing 3 or 4 sets at a time will help you get the most benefit out of this exercise.

Jump Rope

Simple. Find a skipping rope and lots of space, and do jump rope for as long as you can. Then rest and repeat. 

Jump rope is a simple exercise that most kids find fun. This exercise is an excellent way to improve quickness, coordination, and agility. It is also an great cardio workout.

There are variations of jump rope like double jumps and backwards skipping, but keep it simple at first and enjoy it.

Now What

I highly encourage every parent to make their kids a workout routine, incorporating some of these exercises, and make them do it at least 3 times a week. Yes they're running around with their friends at school and after school, but exercises like these will help them be more coordinated, stronger, and just overall a better athlete. 

Also, not all kids are built the same. Some are going to find these exercises super easy to do, while others might struggle. Don't expect them to be able to do all the exercises flawlessly the first few times. Like everything, it takes practice.