Every athlete has a dream of becoming a star in their sport.
They prepare hard every single day and when success follows, what do they say?
They tell you it is the effort they put in preparation that led to their success.
Well, what exactly are those efforts?
To be a great athlete is about more than just being great at a sport!
But what exactly spurs an athlete to go from good to great?
A good athlete will train hard but a great athlete trains harder plus has the following 4 traits:
- Has confidence – having true confidence is a choice!
- Has a teachable spirit – a good athlete always looks at any correction as a form of criticism, but a great athlete is willing to make corrections as a compliment and an opportunity to improve.
- Competitive perseverance – a great athlete quickly recovers from a mistake and avoids being discouraged. A positive, competitive and persevering sportsperson is mentally tough.
- Discipline – discipline is exhibited through enthusiasm, attentiveness, personal responsibility and sportsmanship.
We all want to be the best version of ourselves, especially if you are an athlete.
Well, the difference between the average athletes and elite athletes is how well they train and the types of agility workouts they tend to focus on.
Agility training is a must for athletes who want to be better performers since it brings out the best in them.
What’s Agility Training?
This is the ability to be able to start, stop and manage to change direction as quickly as possible while maintaining a proper body posture.
Is Agility A Fitness Component?
Agility fitness combines strength, power, balance, reaction time, flexibility, anticipation, coordination and muscular control.
Well, after years of training and working with professional trainers, I came to determine the importance of agility training, and why improving your ligaments is very important in athletes and all sportspersons, plus reasons why agility workouts are very useful for your overall health.
As an athlete we know how dangerous it can be to stretch your body to the maximum capacity which it can handle, but how can we avoid finding ourselves in this situation?
Is agility training the solution?
What is agility? Agility is the ability to switch the direction which your body is heading without losing your body stability or balance.
What Does Speed, Agility and Quickness Entail?
Speed and agility workouts are designed to work on your hips, core muscles and leg strengths.
This refers to the general speed which allows you to be able to move your legs and arms in a straight line as quick as possible.
This is usually referred to as the linear speed.
If you notice that you are having a hard time keeping up with or constantly breaking away from your competitors or even your teammates, then this is definitely the best workout for you.
Workouts that focus on improving your quickness enhance your natural reflexes which help you move very fast in everything you do.
For those who lack explosiveness in their first few steps or have trouble to get their body into position very quickly.
Then quickness workouts would increase your reaction time and be a quicker athlete.
For speed, exercises focus on doing fast but steady movements.
For the strength exercises focus on doing good easy repetitions which should be performed in a great form, making sure your muscles are feeling every single moment.
Please note that it is important to do warm ups and cool downs before and after the speed and agility workouts.
All in all, it is your rep scheme and intensity that will definitely change your workload.
Why Do Athletes Need Agility?
3 Proven Reasons Why Agility Workout Should Never Miss On Your Daily Workout Routine.
- Improves Your Coordination, Balance, quickness and Injury Prevention.
Agility workouts are very important in every sport. It makes you a better athlete.
Have you ever watched gymnasts performing on a balance beam?
Their movements are usually fluid, dynamic and perfectly balanced. All these skills are due to agility training, which enables the body to be able to balance perfectly while performing the dynamic movements.
Agility training mainly focuses on flexibility; increase control and body balance, allowing your body to maintain a proper body posture.
While it significantly improves all these features, agility workouts also lower the risk of potential injuries that may occur in your daily activities.
Your body learns good body placement through this body workouts, meaning the sensitive areas like your knees, shoulders and lower back are carefully protected while you moving faster.
Sports injuries are usually very devastating; therefore by utilizing the proven methods of strengthening, stretching and body awareness, athletes would prevent injuries especially the knee injuries.
- Mind and body connection.
Agility, speed, quickness, coordination, and strength do not just come from moving faster or lifting more weight.
It comes from your body and mind being able to communicate with each other more quickly, resulting in the creation of a good mind and a healthy body connection which greatly improves the athletes’ performance.
It is also designed to keep you in the right mindset in whatever sport you are participating in.
- Increased short term results.
Often, agility workouts are also High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises, which usually produce noticeable results within a short period of time.
While you are working out, you should try to engage all your muscles which would translate into a much greater result.
This also helps to improve your recovery time, by building the strength of the musculoskeletal system.
How Often Should I Do Agility Drills?
Agility workouts should be done in 2 to 3 days per week.
The agility drills should be done immediately before your strength training or if not during this time then it should be done as a separate workout between 4 to 8 hours before or later than your strength training session.
Benefits Of Speed And Agility Workouts.
- Increase athleticism.
- Develop your overall confidence.
- Improve your fitness level.
- Help reduce the risk of sustaining injuries.
- It is an absolute way of connecting with your kids and spouse.
- Most importantly it is good for older adults since it helps improve their dynamic balance which is great. This would allow them to remain functionally strong and independent in their late years.
How Can You Improve Your Agility? and What Are The Best Agility Workouts?
The following are the best 3 agility workouts that every athlete should try for better performance:
- Agility Dots (16 reps).
Imagine 4 dots on the ground and jump an x pattern across those dots, make sure you touch each dot in the 4 round.
Start from the bottom left corner, jump diagonally forward on the right dot then straight across to the top left, then diagonally back to the bottom right then finally to where you originally started to the bottom left.
- Lateral Hops.
You should do 16 reps on each leg. Push wider and wider, as you go on and keep the motion going as quickly as possible as you cover as much distance as you can.
- Squat Jumps.
Drop down at squat very nice and low, and then jump as higher up as you possibly can. Do 16 reps of this workout.
- Ventral Hops.
Start with a small nice hop then as you go on let it get bigger and bigger.
Try to challenge yourself to jump as far as you can, but make sure you keep it under control.
- Lateral Jumps (Do 16 reps).
Use a full lateral jump with both legs at the same time rather than just one leg.
Start with small jumps to long wide jumps and push as hard as you can, but do not go past that control point.
Remember to try to stay as low as possible.
- Jumping Lunges.
Drop down to a lunge and jump directly back up.
Try to switch your feet as first as you can dropping back down as fast as you can with the opposite leg forward.
Complete 16 reps.
8 Best Upper and Lower Agility Ladder Drills.
- In and out jumps.
- Hand over hand.
- In and outs (fast hands).
- Alternating jump lunges with squats.
- Alternating side lunges.
- Plyometric push-ups.
- Splits jump with rotation.
- Plyo push ups with knee tuck.
How long should an agility session be?
Agility training should take approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
Benefits of agility ladder drills.
- Helps you to acknowledge several moving samples.
This enables you to switch your position in all possible directions, and improve your footwork and move your foot quickly through the ladder.
- Improves your overall stamina and quickness.
This is achieved by quickly repeating certain drills, thus the foot can quickly adopt the sample of movements improving your overall leg movement.
- The agility ladder is very useful in achieving great flexibility with your body.
- Greatly improves your balance and coordination.
Doing these drills will not only help with agility but they will really boost your endurance levels and speed!
Focusing on improving your quickness, speed and agility would really help you to improve your overall performance which would lead to more desirable results.
What does it mean to have mental agility? – especially in athletes.
Mental agility refers to mental quickness and sharpness.
Top athletes should have the ability to think fast, calculate a winning move as quickly as possible in order to be so good at what they do.
Why Is Mental Agility Important?
Not only does it make you a better performer but it also guarantees great brain and emotional health.
How Can I Improve My Mental Agility?
- Exercise your body.
- Learn to meditate daily.
- Train yourself to memorize stuff.
- Build your will power.
- Take time to relax.
- Challenge your intellect and memory.
In conclusion, agility training is not only for the athletes but also for anyone looking to keep fit, lose weight and maintain a great body pasture.
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