Agility is such a valuable skill on and off field that training to improve it is a must. Unlike strength or speed training alone, agility training has a multifaceted advantage that combines a lot of skills to help athletes perform better. The best pro athletes are not always the strongest or the fastest, but they are the most agile – they can quickly read any situation and act accordingly.
What You Gain With Improved Agility Contrary to popular belief, agility is not merely being quick at changing directions, but it is defined as having this ability in response to an outside stimulus. With increased agility you can develop:
1. Lower Body Strength
In a 2012 Journal of Strength and Conditioning study, the results concluded that participants who scored high in vertical jump assessments also did well in change-in-direction tests. Agility training not only trains you to have quick feet, agility drills also increase leg strength. It is not surprising as even going in a vertical direction is a completely new direction, which is the same as going in any different path. This is a crucial component for changing positions in an instant, which brings us to the next skill.
2. Correct Pacing - Acceleration and Deceleration
Agility enables you to temper your deceleration as you change direction so that you can begin acceleration in a new route. Being too fast alone can sometimes be dangerous – it can put you at risk for personal injury or cause others the same. Being agile keeps you and others safe. When you do agility training right, you can correctly pace yourself to lessen impact, evade being tackled or blocked, and move in the right direction to a more ideal environment to meet a goal. Correctly pacing yourself conserves your force, not to mention the energy needed to move in a different way.
3. Appropriate Decisiveness
The last skill that agility develops is one of the most important pillars of performance. Team sports in particular, requires a quick mind to be able to respond correctly to a chaotic game environment. The correct agility training therefore is not limited to the same patterned drills over and over. If you want to train for better agility that includes correct decision-making skills, you’ll need to train with outside stimulus. This can be another teammate (pretending to be an opponent), random obstacles like balls, or coaching commands, and gaining more experience in actual gameplay.
The Key to Effective Agility Training
Agility training can be an exciting part of your workout – instead of a boring, repetitive drill that you just need to get over with. You can choose to get a conditioning coach or a team mate to spice up your agility training with new obstacles to simulate random events in gameplay. Have your teammate throw or kick balls at you and make you dodge them while you do drills. If you want to develop leg strength, decisiveness and correct pacing to obtain agility for better performance, you’ll need to be more creative with your traditional agility drills.