Agility is Purely Cognitive

 

AGILITY IS PURELY COGNITIVE

When it comes down to performance training, the main objective of training for sport is to improve on field success. Improvements in the weight room and practice field are always a goal of an athlete or coach, but just because I PR’d in the weight room, or ran my fastest 5-10-5, does it actually translate to the field?

What exactly is agility?

It’s hard to define exactly what agility is. But in the most simplest terms, agility is the ability to change direction in a single event or multiple times. There are a ton of ways to evaluate or test agility such as 5-10-5 (pro agility), T-test, L-test…etc. Most of these tests have pre planned directions involved with the test. Therefore, Some may consider these tests to only measure change of direction. These tests can be useful and are standardized so that coaches or athletes can measure and compare other athletes times in the test. However, in sports, agility is not pre planned. Agility incorporates reaction to the environment around you. In football, when a running back is running with the ball, the athlete does not pre plan his run, instead he is reacting to the environment around him and (hopefully) making the appropriate reactions to try and avoid defenders. Make sense?

Agility is mostly mental

Regarding agility to actual on field performance, the best athletes with the best on field agility also have the best perception or awareness of the environment around them. The environment around a field athlete would include other players (teammates or opponents), field restrictions (out of bounds) or any other component depending on the game being played. Cutting at the right time to have the defender go by you is a way that an athlete is able to absorb information of their surrounding area and implement a quick, accurate and effective plan to essentially get where they need to get. Higher skilled athletes are generally stronger and faster but also posses the ability to absorb information and make an accurate decision based upon the environment factors at hand. High skilled athletes posses a certain feel for the game they are playing and are able to use their high strength and speed levels to carry out what they are feeling in the game.

How do we train this?

As a strength coach, one way I am able to train on field agility is through reactive drills. Reactive drills incorporate the physical and mental aspect of the sport at hand. For example, for a football player, lets just say a QB, making the athlete complete a speed ladder, working on foot mechanics while looking downfield and making a decision and actually throwing the football to a receiver based on the defensive formation. This drill is able to incorporate agility or change of direction training with a cognitive aspect. The speed ladder is a useful tool and can look really cool when preformed fast and accurate, but being able to make a decision based on environment while doing it makes the translation to field success higher. This is just one example and there are many different ways to train agility with some kind of mental aspect or reaction aspect that will translate better to the field.

What we think of when training for sport you would generally think of the physical aspect- weight training or agility training. The technical side of training which would evolve your basic skills for the sport. For example, in basketball, passing, dribbling and shooting would all be trained. Other side of training would be the tactical side of training which would involve your game plan. For example, in basketball, going over offensive plays and defensive plays. A lot of people forget the mental aspect of the game.

There are physical aspects of agility of course. But, for the purposes of this post, we simply wanted to focus on the mental side. 

-Coach Brandon

The following two tabs change content below.

Brandon Egan-Thorpe

Latest posts by Brandon Egan-Thorpe (see all)

Leave a Reply

RECENT POSTS

SSA Success
December 10, 2018
What Coach Jack Is Learning About This Week (12/5)
December 5, 2018
Strength for the Area Between the Ears
November 21, 2018

BLOG ARCHIVE:

SUBSCRIBE NOW

INITIAL CONSULTATION

Instagram Slider

  • I started lifting when I was 8 years old I
    1 day ago by ath_warehouse I started lifting when I was 8 years old. I trained wrong for performance until I was done with college. It wasn’t until after that I learned how to train properly and how to coach youth athletes to train properly. That is probably the main reason why I wanted to coach youth strength and conditioning - to have them doing it the right way from the beginning. - Coach Matt  #WhyI 
  • As I prepare to major in musical theater in college
    2 days ago by ath_warehouse As I prepare to major in musical theater in college with acting dancing and singing, I need to grow and reach my fitness and mental goals to be able to reach my highest level of competitiveness in theater. AW is helping me to reach and surpass my goals. - Lyndsey Minerva • • Oh and she just happened to be named All-State in soccer. A.K.A. She does it all!  #SundaySpotlight 
  • Growth leans over the table and speaks to Comfort in
    4 days ago by ath_warehouse Growth leans over the table and speaks to Comfort in a stern voice, “Listen, it’s not you it’s me. I just don’t think we are going to be able to work together.”
  • Some athletes come out of a long season with mild
    6 days ago by ath_warehouse Some athletes come out of a long season with mild discomfort in the lower back. It’s important for us as the coach, and often times the first point of contact in identifying an athletes pain, to understand when an athlete must be referred out to see a specialist. We generally see two types of back dysfunction that are exposed during movements performed in the weight room: Extension Based Pain or Flexion Based Pain.  #wisewednesday 
  • We are so excited to announce our upcoming seminar!! Hit
    1 week ago by ath_warehouse We are so excited to announce our upcoming seminar!! Hit the link in the bio to register We have gathered experts from around the area to share their knowledge in sports performance through the lens of baseball and softball! We hope you decide to join us on December 29th!