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Kids like to move, and once they get going, it can be hard to contain that energy. Some 35 million kids a year participate in organized sports, a great way to help them stay fit and focused. Through sports, kids will naturally build up coordination and hone fine and gross motor skills, but how do they achieve agility? Agility drills for kids can increase nimbleness and speed, as well as build body confidence. Don't fret if your child is not on a sports team; many agility games and drills can be played right in your backyard.
Some of the simplest old-school games are perfect for improving agility in children. Hopscotch, duck-duck-goose, jumping rope and Simon Says will all help children with agility, balance and coordination -- the ABCs of kid fitness. Let kids make up their own games that involve running, jumping or hopping or following a series of physical instructions. You may be surprised by how creative they get.
One of the best sports for agility is soccer, because of the zigzag running patterns and footwork involved. Soccer warmup drills can be used to teach agility to even the smallest children. Drills such as down-and-back relays kicking the ball, cone zigzags and mirroring another player's every move can each be fun and challenging for children. Baseball is a great agility-builder. If you're child is not on a team, try this baseball drill called "pickle." With your child in the middle, have a friend on each of two bases. Your child tries to get to either base without being tagged by the others. Players take turns being in the middle.
Drills with Props
Agility drills are easy when you use props. Using a rope ladder or portable fire escape ladder laid on the ground, walk and then run one foot and two feet in each вЂњholeвЂќ (alternate the lead foot). In lieu of a ladder, lay down a series of hula hoops. Make mini hurdles: These can be a jump rope tied low to two posts, or an old aerobics step or baby step-stool. Have kids jump over these during a shuttle run (back and forth) or step up and down a prescribed number of times. Weave in and out of a shuttle run made of three to five small cones or balls.
Design a mini obstacle course and give kids a time to beat. Use a combination of ramps, hurdles, and cones to jump, climb over or run around. Have them grab a flag at one end of the course and carry it back to the finish. Make sure the time to beat is challenging enough to to be tough, but not discouraging. Adjust times for different ages of children.