In every athletic sport there is an element of reaction. Even in track and field where most events are linear there are still elements of the sport that call for instant reaction such as the starting gun. At Apex we do a wide variety of agility drills that are based to help the athlete develop neuromuscular patterns that allow them to change direction faster through series of cuts, turns, foot pattern drills and jumps. A common mode of measuring someone’s ability to change direction quickly is the 20 yard shuttle run. (Add link here). This drill is great, but is very predictable and even typically starts when the athlete is ready, hence there is no reaction here necessary. As a performance enhancement coach I think it shows an athletes ability to move fairly well, but has no real direct reflection on how they play. If an athlete comes to train at Apex, I can teach them how to run a shuttle faster in a matter of minutes even taking as much as .5 seconds off an athletes time within an hours time. (All technique)
The point of this post is not to bash the shuttle run or “L” drill or any other typically used agility measurement. The point is to help you understand that setting up cones and running agility drills or suicides will not necessarily help you on the field as much as you think. Sports are all based on reaction as I stated above. So in practice or a game type situation where your ability to move is dictated by the speed of the man you are guarding and his movements or by the snap of the football or by the defender in front of you, it is your ability to react quickly and put the steps necessary into application in order to be successful. Through the drills we have athletes participate here at Apex, we have what we call “Reactive Plyo” or “Reactive agility” day where the athletes respond to a coaches cues verbally or visually. The cues could be from a whistle, a ball in the air, hand signals or even based on another athletes movements (mirror drill). The purpose of this approach is to not only train an athletes ability to change direction but to do so under a state of pressure that forces them to react when they may not expect it…….making it actually simulate sport or competition.
You Play, how you train.......
Slow kids don't get scholarships.