Reactive agility may be the most underrated and underused training method for athletes. Recent studies have shown that the best athletes have better reactive agility. One study found that an athlete’s reactive agility was the only significant factor determining performance. (1) It is the decision-making aspect, and the reaction to an external cue, in these drills that make them so beneficial. Incorporating these drills into your program will improve play on the field or court by helping the athlete react faster and anticipate the next move of the opponent.
Here are a few reactive agility drills that we like to use with our athletes. They are fun and competitive and in a team environment these types of drills enhance toughness, competitiveness, team spirit, conditioning and of course reactive agility itself.
This drill is a one on one drill that closely mimics actual sport moves. The drill is easy to set up; all you need is 2 cones and a partner. One person leads and the other has to try to keep his hips aligned with the leader and react to any changes in direction.
4 Corner Point & Go Agility Drill
This can be timed to a specific work to rest ratio as mentioned in the example above. By extending the work period it can become a conditioning protocol which we find really useful for our off-season group training.
4 Corner Partner Drill
This is another one-on-one drill that is multi-directional by nature. What’s cool about this is that you can time the work to rest ratio to match the sport you are preparing for at that time. For example most football plays last about 6 seconds with a 30 second rest between plays (1:5 work to rest ratio). This enhances reactive multidirectional movement and increases the carryover to the sport which we as coaches and the players love. Another example would be for a tennis player who might be starting the clay court season. With the points lasting longer on clay the work to rest ratio may be much higher than in preparation for the grass court season.
1. J Sci Med Sport. 2006 Aug;9(4):342-9. Epub 2006 Jul 17