Want to Improve your Agility? Play Games.Nov 16, 2022
By: Duncan Roman
Sounds too good to be true right?
With the majority of content online pushing cone drills, ladders, fast feet, and footwork drills it understandable why many are skeptical when told playing games will do a better job of improving your in-game agility than those drills.
It all comes down to what is actually being trained during these different drills and games.
The command center of agile movement
The Brain is where all of the magic happens.
Seems like a “no-brainer” right? But it’s commonly overlooked when it comes to agility.
Enter: The Perception – Action cycle.
Training this cycle and your brain can be a GAME CHANGER for your performance on the field – but it’s hard to sell this in a program on the internet.
so those internet agility guru’s stick to what they know best – cones and ladders.
What is the perception action cycle?
It is the name for the cognitive process of how you perceive information, process it, make decisions, execute your decisions, then repeat.
It can and should be trained.
You can have the best footwork, the fastest feet, the best 40 times.
But your agility is limited – by how well you perceive information and act.
In this respect the brain plays a critical role in agility.
How to apply this starting as soon as your next training session:
“Agility games” place yourself (or the athlete) in an environment that forces the utilization of the perception action cycle.
Games can also drive intent and engagement. Competition – athletes love it, or they wouldn’t be athletes.
Playing “agility games” involves this perception action cycle AS WELL AS change of direction.
Take, for example, something as simple as a game of tag.
It will force you to read, predict, make decisions, plans, AND move yourself in a way to evade capture or being tagged (change of direction). It checks both boxes: change of direction and cognitive processing.
Change the variables of the game, the rules, the limits, the “goals”, the environment. I.e., the constraints
The variations of games you can create are endless.
The more you train this cognitive process – the “faster” you will be.
Do this and watch your in-game agility skyrocket.
The problem with ONLY using cone drills (and similar “agility training” methods)
Let me be clear – there is a time and place for specific drills that work on things like change of direction.
But the problem arises when that is all you do. And many people fall into that trap.
“My pro-agility time went down ½ a second!”
Be cautious – did you actually get more agile? Or did you just become more proficient at that specific drill?
When all you do is “closed” drills – cone drills like the pro-agility. You will get better at the drill itself, but your in-game agility will likely stay the same.