Defining, developing and measuring agility

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Anthony Turner

Agility may be defined as the ability to change direction rapidly, without losing balance, using a combination of strength, power and neuromuscular coordination. Until recently, these types of definition have dominated and greatly affected the way in which agility is trained and tested. However, recent developments have questioned whether these definitions truly reflect the nature of agility in a sports context, and as such, new definitions retain these movements but also add a reactive element. For example, Young et al., and Sheppard and Young also add that agility is further affected by the athlete’s perceptual and decision-making skills (see Caption 1 and Figure 1). What is not in question is that agility plays a major role in the performance of many sports and indeed, for team sports such as soccer and racquet sports such as tennis, agility may be the best single indicator of overall performance.

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