Unless you are a track sprinter, how fast you run in a straight line is not much use. You need to be able to stop suddenly, change directions and react to your opponents, all while controlling the ball. These movements are what constitute agility.
Agility is difficult to train because it’s often misunderstood. In this two-part series, we will break down the principles of agility so you can understand how to train for this skill, then show you how to put agility training into your program.
Focus on Changing Directions
Running in a straight line is not the same thing as reacting to a situation, stopping and changing directions. Straight-line speed is important, but the ability to change directions and react to situations should be your focus.
Fundamental Skills Are Part of the Whole
Accelerating, stopping suddenly, shuffling, taking tight turns to the right and left, and backpedaling are all components of agility. However, they are transitional movements and are rarely performed for extended distances. They should be practiced, but you should combine them with other skills which, when mastered, have more application to your sport.
Go Beyond Drills
Drills are great for teaching you skills and how to combine them. However, all drills have limitations. Even if you are good at a drill, it doesn’t mean you will be proficient in a game situation. Real sports are played with a ball, teammates, opponents and a great deal of unpredictability. Therefore, you should be performing drills with a ball and an unpredictable element. For example, respond to a coach’s cue or react to a teammate’s move.