Hey, let's face it... the game is played in a box about twenty yards wide and twenty yards long. We need to move quickly in a linear way and change direction in order to be successful. For some positions like the interior line the box (field of play) is even smaller. Despite this, countless programs lock themselves indoors hoping to make their teams better in the offseason.
Deeply rooted in our agility program are the strength and flexibility work that we do. We never forget the importance of taking your lifts through a full range of motion. As you see, each function of training overlaps and blends to help on-field performance. The better the positioning of the feet, body awareness, flexibility, and force applied into the ground, the better agility one will have. Agility is actually a combination of a few different bio-motor abilities. It is the product of coordination, flexibility and power. Agility training should focus on two phases.
Phase 1: Learning Stage
The first phase, or learning stage, is when an athlete is exposed to a variety of agility drills. As the athlete learns the drill, he/she becomes more coordinated (intermuscle coordination), and as a result, able to perform the drill faster.
Phase 2: Power Stage
The second phase, or (Increased) power phase, is when, as a result of increasing power, especially ankle power (gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis anterior muscles), the athlete will perform same drills much faster than ever before.
Again, it goes back to our focus of triple extension and explosive power in the weight room. If we can improve your ability to accelerate, decelerate and change direction you will no doubt be a better player in any sport. As one's agility gets better through guided practice, the drills become more specific to actual patterns of movement on the field of play.
After watching countless hours of defensive back tapes in game situations, we create drills that mimic the movements that are important to us on the field. When put in that situation, one will be able to respond a step faster than previously expected.
One glaring weakness in many major programs around the country that Dr. Mel Siff brought up to me in a recent visit to his house was the forgotten training of deceleration. Many athletes can get up and go, but can they stop on a dime and control it? Do we spend time working on it?
The following things can influence change of direction:
- Takeoff power
- Deceleration power
- Reaction Time
Acceleration and deceleration both require a great deal of power. The same muscles used for acceleration (quads, hamstrings, and calves) are used for deceleration, except they contract eccentrically to enhance the ability to decelerate fast and quickly move in another direction (Bompa).
Deceleration training is a must!
On the football field the element of surprise is often seen, as there are constant changes in speed and direction on any given play. This would seem to make it quite feasible to not only develop power explosively, but also try to make the athlete adapt to constant changes in game speed, rhythm, and power production (Siff).
With the above in mind, we will do change of direction and cutting drills at different speed levels to ensure that the correct movement patterns get ingrained into our motor skill development. In addition, we will continue to take movements in the weight room through a full range of motion, thus ensuring us sound agility development that is displayed in breathtaking cuts and explosive moves towards the go line.
At any time you need questions answered or clarification please don't hesitate to email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next, we will take a look at some of the key components of our agility program.