top of page

The Truth about Rugby Speed & Agility Training

It’s time I shine the light on what it takes to develop explosive speed and agility


Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet.

One thing I see too often is players or teams run cone drills for an hour with no purpose or understanding of what they are focusing on.

Like anything in life, there is no progress without purpose.

Yes, there is science behind developing explosive speed, but it isn’t rocket science.

You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym.

You don’t even need to train on a footy field to develop explosive speed.

All you need is your own bodyweight and a small area.

Here is the simple truth to developing explosive speed and agility

  • Quality is paramount. Speed needs to be performed with 100% accuracy otherwise you won’t reach your fastest

  • You need to increase your ability to produce force into the ground and absorb it

  • Your lower limbs need to be able to move through full range of motion

  • Good strong core will allow you to control your lower and upper body

  • The ability to be able to decelerate under control

Here are the movements that will improve your explosive speed and agility

  • Improve your technique

  • Plyometrics

  • Strength training

  • Flexibility

I told you it’s not rocket science.

Here are some questions I get asked on a regular basis

Question 1 – What is the best drill to improve explosive speed?

Unfortunately, there is not one drill but if I was to say the best drill to do if I only could choose 1 it would be to simply sprint. Like any skill in the life the more you practise the better you get at it.

Sprint at max effort for around 5-10m

Question 2 – I’m fast but can’t change direction. What do we need to do?

It’s one thing being fast but if you can’t change direction, you are no use on the rugby field.

Rugby is a game of short fast bursts of speed in many directions. There have been many times where Rugby 7s teams have poached 100m track sprinters but have failed simply because they can’t change direction at speed.

Back to the question. The one thing I would work on is to develop a solid base and that base for change of direction is deceleration.

Simply sprint as fast as you can for 5m then stop on a dime. You need to be able to stop with body control.

Question 3 – I’m fast and training and when performing drills but it all changes on the field. What am I doing wrong?

This comes back to what I mentioned at the start.

You need to have purpose to progress.

One question you need to be asking yourself when performing any drill at training is “Is what I am doing going to transfer onto the field”

What I mean by that is that we train to be able to perform on game day so there is no use doing agility ladder drills for instance when there is no agility ladder on the field. It’s great that you can remember a pattern at speed when going through the agility ladder but is that skill going to transfer onto the field?

The same goes when performing drills pre planned. When was the last time the opposition player on the field told you in advance what they are going to do?

You need to add realistic game situations to every drill you perform if you want your training to transfer onto the field.


It’s all well and good knowing what to do but it’s a whole new kettle of fish to know how to put the puzzle of speed together.

Knowledge is not always power if you don’t put it into action.

Speed training is all about quality not quantity. Ensure that you are performing your speed training 100% accurate and work on your leg strength so that you can produce high amounts of force into the ground.

Stretch everyday so that your limbs can move through full range of motion and incorporate plyometrics into your training to improve your power output and finally build that core strength to not only improve your speed but agility as well. A player with a strong core is a faster and more agile player. Good luck

377 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page