Learning to react

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Jay Dawes

In most sports, a player must be able to execute a specific skill with little or no error in order to be effective. For this reason, many strength and conditioning coaches and athletes utilize agility drills with preplanned changes of direction in order to develop specific movement patterns, anticipating that once these drills are mastered, the athlete will be able to reproduce the appropriate preprogrammed neuromuscular responses automatically in a competitive situation.(5) While intuitively this makes perfect sense, because these drills are being performed in a relatively stable and predictable environment, the athlete is not required to read and react to the same type of sensory information experienced during competition. Thus, in order to prepare an athlete for competition, a controlled amount of chaos must be introduced into the training environment in order to prepare them for the unpredictable nature of sports.

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