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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

Key factors in agility

The ability to change direction both quickly and accurately is considered by many to be an integral part of athletic performance (Docherty et al 1988, Keogh et al 2003). We have already outlined the importance of the SSC in the sprint action and now we need to state that here again we have a requirement to express eccentric loading with a fast and rapid concentric contraction albeit in an attempt to change direction.

Figure 5. Players practising quick feet drills. This is a pre-planned agility drill.

The key factors contributing to a player’s ‘agility’ ability may include mechanical footwork (Palmeiri 1993), decision-making and accuracy of movement (Besier et al 2001), the ability to load and unload different muscles efficiently and movement speed (Moreno 1995). Sheppard and Young (2006) note the definition of ‘agility’ as a comprehensive term recognizing three key factors:

  1. Physical demands (movement speed and strength)
  2. Cognitive processing (perception and decision making)
  3. Technical skills (footwork and movement technique)

Further, Young et al (2002) propose that the term ‘agility’ only be used when both change-of-direction (COD) and decision-making tasks are involved.

Figure 6. Three key factors associated with agility.