Agility

What is the Definition of Agility in Sports and Physical Fitness?

agility drill for basketball
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What is Agility in Sports and Physical Fitness?

Agility is the ability to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively while under control. It requires quick reflexes, coordination, balance, speed, and correct response to the changing situation.

To be agile, you are responding to what is going on around you, taking in that information and translating it into body positioning that will maintain balance and control.

You are moving to the best position to take the next action, such as catching a ball or making a tackle. You are moving in a way that your body and sports equipment are in the right position to take the next action effectively.

Agility as a Key Component of Sports and Physical Activities

Agility is one of the key components of fitness and is valuable in many sports and physical activities. Think of the sports where you have to use agility. In team sports such as football, soccer, basketball, hockey, volleyball and rugby you must quickly respond to movements of the other players and of the ball.

In tennis, handball, squash, table tennis and similar individual sports, you have to quickly respond to the position of the ball. In surfing, skiing and snowboarding you must be agile to respond to the changing conditions of the surface of the water and snow.

Agility Tests

Shuttle runs are often done as an agility test as well as a drill to build sports agility.

Markers are set up and you sprint from one marker to the other, do a quick turn and sprint back. The US Military Academy uses a shuttle run test. The National Football League uses a 5-10-5 shuttle run as an agility test and drill.

The Illinois Agility Run Test is often used by schools and law enforcement as a test of agility.

It uses a running course and involves not only a shuttle run, but also weaving between four cones. Because it has been used for many years, there are norms and a grading system that can be applied.

The SPARQ rating combines testing for speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness. It is sport-specific as well as a test for general athleticism. The general assessment tests include the agility shuttle 5-10-5 to measure agility. For sport-specific agility, they use a lane agility drill for basketball, a shuttle cross pick-up for hockey, and the arrowhead drill for soccer. The SPARQ rating is used by many sports training companies and certified SPARQ trainers.

Agility Drills for Athletes

Read more about these drills that can be used in different sports to develop speed and coordination.

  • Dot Drills: These use an X-shaped pattern to jump from dot to dot with both feet at the same time. It is used for field and racket sports as well as skiing and basketball.
  • More Agility Drills

Sources:

US Military Academy Admissions, Lemmink KA, Visscher C, Lambert MI, Lamberts RP. The interval shuttle run test for intermittent sport players: evaluation of reliability. Journal of Strength Conditioning Research. November, 2004.

Davis B. et al; Physical Education and the Study of Sport; 2000

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