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Athletic Evaluation: Testing Your Agility

This past weekend I spent some time watching the NFL Combine. Every year I am more and more amazed at the athleticism. I’m not just talking about the LB’s DB’s, RB’s or QB’s either. Watching the TE’s and linemen run, move so fluid, change direction and sprint is one of the most incredible things you can watch. Athletes of that size are not supposed to move like that. It goes to show you how training smart and training with a plan can help an athlete or the “average Joe” improve on their training.

Starting, stopping, and changing direction while maintaining body control is a key skill that all athletes must possess.  I train athletes of all sports that require sudden change of direction. Those sports include football, soccer, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, baseball, and volleyball.  Though straight ahead speed is important, all of these sports demand multidirectional agility. 

One drill that we use to test athletes is the 5-10-5 Agility Drill (Pro Agility).

Description: Three marker cones are placed along a line five yards apart. The player straddles the middle line and puts one hand down in a three-point stance. The player can start by going either to the right or left direction. On the signal 'Go' the player turns and runs five yards to the right side and touches the line with his right hand. He then runs 10 yards to his left and touches the other line with his left hand, then finally turns and finishes by running back through the start/finish line. 

In addition to improved athletic performance, learning how to change direction properly also helps prevent injury.  Remember injuries occur more often when an athlete is slowing down or landing, but rarely when they are accelerating or taking off. Athletes of any age can benefit from agility training.

Some Results from agility training:

1. Increased power

2. Improved balance

3. Increases in speed

4. Increased reaction time

5. Quick Feet6. Better body control7. More explosiveness

8. Intramuscular coordination

9. Better coordination of skills

For the greatest benefit, agility drills should be implemented at the most appropriate times of your training cycles and they should progress from simple to complex drills and in intensity. Remember to maintain with your strength-training program as well.

Some top NFL players at skilled positions run the 5-10-5 in under 4.20 seconds.  How do you match up?

Stay Active, Stay Fit!

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