Agility Component 1: Decision MakingThe most relevant and efficient means to improve decision making is to play your sport (see Sparta Point). As athletes become more experienced, they can anticipate, recognize, and know situations from their experience. This reaction ability is often used by the word quickness, which is a value that is largely determined by genetics and again…the hours spent “learning” your sport (see Sparta Point). However, being a blog about GRF and its application to sport, we will focus on the physical factors, which in this case, is the change of direction speed.
Agility Component 2: Change of Direction Speed …Consisting of Acceleration, Angles, Strength
Our program involves relatively 33% more straight ahead speed movements, acceleration exercises like a 10 yard sprint. This imbalance is due to the above findings that the quality of the change of direction, timed or otherwise, is largely gauged by one’s ability to accelerate out of it. For our deceleration drills, we correctly repeat the agility drill over and over again to ensure technique improvement, particularly the angles of GRF (see Sparta Point). So the final component to improve change of direction speed is leg strength. Two research studies, most recently a March 2012 paper out of University of Malaga, found that the vertical jump test explained 46-49% of the change in direction test. Authors concluded that these findings were due to the superior ability of the vertical jump to assess the stretch shortening cycle (see Sparta Point). This high relationship also makes sense because a vertical jump is just simply a change of direction. Previous authors have explained this positive relationship due to GRF required for a good vertical jump. Despite agility runs being a horizontal or lateral change in direction, vertical force accounts for much of the total GRF exerted when the athlete contacts the ground to change direction. After all, the primary resistance is still gravity.