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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

Speed development - agility, training and testing

Agility - a reaction and movement

Agility is really about reaction and how a player responds to a given stimulus during match play. Agility is seen in both defensive play patterns and in attacking patterns. The swerve or the sudden change of direction may be either evasion or tracking reactions and are examples of a broad repertoire of agility manoeuvres that a Rugby player is required to express during play either in defence or in attack.

The selection of which particular agility manouvre to use is ultimately a reactive decision either deliberately chosen in a split second or selected with little conscious processing. Here we describe three different response selections in a reaction:

  1. Simple – the reaction to a command such as a call from a player to take a ball at pace.
  2. Choice – the decision to tackle player A or B as they approach.
  3. Recognition – ‘Go or no go’, recognising the correct option when several options are placed before the player.

Figure 2. Agility can be categorised as having simple, choice and recognition sub-sets.

Choice and recognition are very similar as they require decision-making. Recent studies inform us that decision-making can indeed be improved (Serpell et al 2011). Therefore, including decision-making in agility drills is important if a training transfer into play is to occur. In our practical workshop, we will consider the options we have when devising decision making agility drills. Here, we describe each of the sub-sets of agility in some detail.