Coaching Field Movement Patterns
WHAT IS AGILITY AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
There are three components that underpin successful agility performance: the ability to react to a situation and select the appropriate change of direction strategy, the ability to slow down momentum in the direction of initial travel (deceleration), and the ability to re-accelerate in the new direction of travel (acceleration). Without including that reactive decision making component, an athlete is simply completing a change of direction activity. Hence to qualify as true agility, an athlete must be reacting to a stimulus prior to completing their change of direction. As is obvious, rapid agility is a highly desirable quality in sports that require evasive manoeuvres.
WHAT PHYSICAL QUALITIES ARE REQUIRED FOR ELITE AGILITY PERFORMANCE?
We have already discussed the qualities that underpin successful acceleration and deceleration performance. Hence the only thing left to discuss is the decision making process that an athlete utilises to determine what change of direction strategies an athlete might use in game. This decision making process is highly complex, however there are a few key steps that are discussed in the below video. These steps are:
- Identify the problem
- Capture all relevant information
- Analyse the information and problem together
- Identify what possible solutions there are, and identify which one is best
- Execute the best solution, making compensatory adjustments as required
Hence successful agility training MUST consider the complex decision making process that occurs prior to a change of direction action. However successful agility training must also train the overall "change of direction" movement too, as both decision making and change of direction performance are required for successful agility performance.
HOW IS "CHANGE OF DIRECTION" PERFORMANCE TRAINED?
A) Develop isolated acceleration and deceleration qualities/patterns as per previous modules
B) Integrate acceleration and deceleration patterns into sport-relevant change of direction drills
- Use a variety of angles as would be experienced in their sport
- Use a variety of start and end positions
C) Overload change of direction patterns through the use of bands, weights, med balls, hurdles etc
HOW IS "DECISION MAKING" PERFORMANCE TRAINED?
A) Programming reactive change of direction drills
- The stimuli MUST be sport specific
- Reacting to someone calling left or right won't make an athlete better at evading a defender
B) Putting athletes in game like situations where "complex" decisions need to be made
- Again, these game like situations must be sport specific