Agility Training

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Agility Training

Example of Agility Training

1) Agility is a key attribute to attain for many sports. However, little research has substantiated how this should best be trained.

2) Young, (2001) when comparing sprint and agility training methods suggested that specificity is key and that sprint training would not transfer to agility performance.

3) Young (2006) also states that planned changes of direction in sports are rare (eg softball) and specificity thus suggests that performing agility training in a structured and planned movement fashion may not be advantageous to most sports.The cognition receptors in the brain are able to improve allowing for greater agility.The cognition receptors in the brain are able to improve allowing for greater agility.

4)  Bisier et, al, (2001) also suggested that unplanned athletic movements increase the likelihood of injury and thus it could be that using predetermined agility training patterns may leave an athlete at increased risk of injury.

5) Novices however should potentially perform single movement skills and progress to multiple agility movements. These closed skill movements are useful to build correct movement patterns in novice athletes (Jeffreys, 2006). Once a high level of technical proficiency is acquired it is suggested that closed skill movements may not be beneficial, as in most sports an athlete’s movement is initiated in response to the circumstances of the game and the opposition.

6) Skilled athletes have regularly been shown to produce more accurate and rapid responses because of their ability to pick up ‘task relevant cues’ from their environment (Savelsbergh, 2002, Savelsbergh 2004, Williams and Davids, 1998). These studies have also shown athletes to demonstrate superior visual search strategies.

7) Savelsbergh 2004 states that because perceptual information and movement patterns are interlinked, training drills should replicate game situations where possible.

8) Reactive agility training that replicate game situations are best suited for skilled athlete training where they are forced to response to visual cues and enhance anticipatory abilities (Young, 2006).

9) Training drills can be manipulated for variation to include visual or auditory cues, the inclusion of equipment (eg resistance equipment) and the inclusion of relevant sports equipment eg ball dribbling in soccer drills (Williams and Davids, 1998).

10) Agility sessions can be performed after main training to replicate a fatigued state and end of match conditions or if technical proficiency is required, performed pre training.

"Acceleration and the Olympic Lifts"
Acceleration and the Research:

In most sports, it is far more important to display force quickly rather than to just display as much force as possible’ (Janz, et al, 2008)

Limitations to Speed: Key Study: Weyand et al, 2010:

Hypothesis: Running velocity is not limited by maximal forces applied to the ground but by how rapidly forces can be generated.

Findings: The most effective training strategies may be those that enhance limb extensor muscle force production without increasing the body’s mass or compromising rates of muscular force production.’

This study concluded that a limit to sprint running speed is imposed not by the maximum forces that can be applied to the ground but rather by the maximum rates at which the limbs can apply the forces required.

Key Study: Brughelli et al, (2011)

Findings: The findings agree with many recent studies that above around 65%-70% maximal running velocity, vertical force production does not have a major influence on increased velocity running

In conclusion, the authors suggest that gym based programmes may be better suited on producing power in the horizontal plane rather than simply the vertical plane as most weight training programmes do.

Limitations to Acceleration:

Key Study: Hunter et al, (2005)

Summary: for acceleration as for high and maximum velocity running the horizontal component of ground reaction force is the key. Gym and resistance training exercises should focus more on improving horizontally expressed power rather than the traditional vertical power seen in most training drills.

Olympic Lifting and Athletic/Sports Performance

Key Study: Hori et al, (2005)

Findings: Many authors suggest that plyometrics is more effective as part of a programme. Utilising additional ballistic exercises (explosive resisted movements in which the body or an object is subjected to full acceleration) such as weightlifting as these accentuate and enhance power output through the triple extension of hips, knees and ankles (Hori et al, 2005). These lifts are also advocated by many to increase Rate of Force Development and may develop the active state fundamental to SSC activities.

Key Study: Hedrick and Wada, (2008).
‘It is believed by many that weightlifting movements best meet these requirements and that the complex nature of the weightlifting movements aids in the development of a wide range of physical skills that transfer to enhanced performance (Numerous studies cited).

Olympic Lifting: Balance, Co-ordination, Flexibility and Injury Issues

As well as increased explosive power, weightlifting can aid the development of balance, co-ordination and flexibility (Tricoli, 2005)

Risks of injury in well taught weightlifting is much less than most sporting activities and although they do occur, they are uncommon (Stone et al, 1994)


Bibliography 1
Janz, J, Cal, D, and Malone, M. Training Explosiveness: Weightlifting and Beyond. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30(6), 14-22 (2008).

Hedrick, A. and Wada, H. Weightlifting Movements: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks ? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 30, 6: 26-35 (2008).

Hori N, Newton, RU, Nosaka K, Stone MH. Weightlifting exercises enhance athletic performance that requires high load speed strength. Strength Cond J. 27: 50-55, 2005.

Hunter JP, Marshall RN, and McNair PJ. Relationships between ground reaction force impulse and kinematics of sprint-running acceleration. J Appl Biomech 21: 31-43, 2005.

Matt Brughelli, John Cronin, and Anis Chaouachi, Effects of Running velocity on running kinetics and kinematics. J Strength and Cond Res 25(4): 933-939, 2011.

Peter G. Weyand, Rosalind F. Sandell, Danille N. L. Prime and Matthew W. Bundle. The biological limits to running speed are imposed from the ground up. J Appl Physiol 108:950-961, 2010.

Stone, MH, Fry, AC, Ritchie M, Stoessel-Row L and Marsit JL. Injury potential and safety aspects of weightlifting movements. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 16: 15-21, 1994.

Tricoli V, Lamas L and Carnevale R, Ugrinowitsch C. Short term effects on lower body functional power development: weightlifting vs vertical jump training programs. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Res. 19(2): 433-437, 2005.

Bibliography 2  
Patrick M. Holmberg. Agility Training for Experienced Athletes: A Dynamical Systems Approach, Strength and Conditioning Journal, 31,5, 2009.

Young, WB, McDowell, MH and Scarlett. Specificity of sprint and agility training methods. J Strength Cond Res 15: 315-319 (2001).

Young WB and Farrow, D. A review of agility. Practical applications for strength and conditioning. Strength Cond J 28: 24-29, (2006).

Besier TF, Lloyd DG, Cochrane JL, and Ackland TR. External loading of the knee joint during running and cutting maneuvers, Med Sci Sports Exerc 33: 1168-1175, 2001.

Jeffreys L. Motor Learning Applications for agility. Part 1. Strength Cond J 28: 72-76, 2006.

Savelsbergh, GJP, van der Kamp J, Oudejana RRD and Scott MA. Perceptual learning in mastering perceptual degrees of freedom. In: Skill Acquisition in Sport: Research, Theory and Practice. Williams AM and Hodges NJ, eds, London, England, Routledge, 2004, p374-389.

Savelsbergh GJP, Williams AM, van der Kamp J, and Ward, P. Visual search anticipation and expertise in soccer goalkeepers. J Sports Sci 20: 279-287, 2002.

Williams AM, and Davids K. Visual search strategy, selective search strategy and expertise in soccer. Res Q Exerc Sport, 69: 111-129, 1998.

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