Who knew that when you played hopscotch as a young girl you were actually doing a dot drill? Like hopscotch, dot drills are designed to get you to move your feet and work on your agility. Anyone who plays a sport that requires lightning-speed footwork, such as soccer, tennis or basketball, can benefit from dot drills. You can also do a number of dot drills to strengthen your upper body. The basic idea is to move through a pattern, hitting the dots as quickly as you can while maintaining control.
Dot drills are designed to help you improve your balance, coordination and the quickness of your feet. These drills are also effective for increasing your leg strength and the stability of your ankles and knees. If you do dot drills on a regular basis, you may also notice an improvement in your cardio endurance.
Dot drills are usually done on a 2-by-3-foot or a 3-by-4-foot rubber mat. The dots, which are embedded into the rubber, measure 4 or 5 inches in diameter. There is one dot in each corner and one in the middle. If you are on a tight budget, you can easily make a dot-drill layout on your garage or basement floor by spray painting dots, drawing dots with sidewalk chalk or sticking pieces of masking tape. For the latter method, simply crisscross two small pieces of tape for the "dots."
Sample Foot Drills
The forward and back drill is a good dot drill to start with. Stand with your left foot on the bottom left dot and your right foot on the bottom right dot. Hop forward and land with both feet on the middle dot and then hop forward and land with your left foot on the top left dot and your right foot on the top right dot. Hop backward to the middle and then to the starting two dots and repeat.
Now, try the figure-eight drill. Stand with both feet on the bottom right dot. Hop across to the bottom left dot and land on it with both feet. Continue to the middle dot and then to the upper right, upper left, backward to the middle and then finally to the bottom right dot to complete the pattern. For a more challenging variation, do the drill standing and hopping on one leg.
Sample Upper-Body Drill
Once you've mastered the footwork drills, challenge yourself with advanced upper-body dot drills. To do the forward and back drill, start in a classic push-up position with your hands placed respectively on the bottom left and right dots. Push with your hands and feet, explode off the floor, move forward and put both hands on the middle dot. Then in the same manner, move forward and respectively put your hands on the top left and right dots. Explode again and move backward to the middle dot, then to the starting dots and repeat.
Technique and Workout Tips
It will take a while before you can do the dot patterns very quickly. It's best to start each pattern at a slow pace, pausing between hops, and as you get used to them, gradually increase your pace. When doing footwork drills, keep your knees soft and stay on the balls of your feet. Perform two or three dot-drill workouts each week and do four to six patterns each session. Start with one set of six reps per pattern and work your way up to three sets. Rest for one or two minutes in between the patterns and sets.