Break-Down and Definition of Agility Into Parts to Enhance Agility Training for Sports

   Agility, quite simply is the ability of a moving person to change direction – Quickly. Coaches use the term “quickness” and this is truly meant to describe an athlete’s ability to change direction with speed and accuracy. Change of direction speed is not the same as “straight-ahead-speed”, commonly referred to simply as “speed”.

Any change of direction in sports involves three phases:

     1 – the athlete must use muscular power in order to begin reversing the momentum of their own moving body and or limbs. The necessary muscle action taking place is “eccentric strength”.

Eccentric Strength – the force a muscle can resist while under a given load (resistance) without tearing or becoming damaged while it lengthens against resistance…eventually resulting in:

     2 – a physical stop of movement although the stop is more of a pause not visible to the human eye. It is an instantaneous stop that visually seems to flow right into the “re”-directed direction. Before this “stop” takes place there is another essential component that determines how efficiently that stop occurs. This is called stability.

Stability for our purpose(s) is the ability to control the “lack of movement” when the mid phase is over and just before the new direction of movement is about to begin.

     3 – acceleration and production of movement in the newly desired direction. This requires muscle force and more specifically muscle power…even more specifically this ability to accelerate after changing direction requires a tremendous “rate of force production”.

Rate of Force Production – how much strength you can produce and how fast you can produce it creates the ability to generate a very fast build-up of muscle force .

   All else being equal (size, skill, experience, timing, etc.), if a given amount of strength, lets call it “X” is needed to produce an athletic movement or counter-movement in a dominant fashion, whichever athlete is able to produce the required force (“X”) in the shortest amount of time wins. Every single time.

   So you can see how Power becomes evident even in an athletic trait that is commonly assigned to lighter, faster, more “mobile” athletes or athletic positions.

   What makes for a great running back? Would you rather have shear speed or tons of agility? What would be some other key attributes of a great running back? We will get into this and much more with respect to training for sports to enhance performance and how specific drugs can play a role in enhancing these mechanisms in training and competition.