New agility tests can discriminate between football players at different performance levels

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To measure agility, researchers requested junior players to dribble a ball in direction of plastic cones. Image: Shutterstock

The tests might be a extra correct option to assess agility in younger players, in contrast with standard measurements resembling sprinting and leaping potential.

— By Conn Hastings

Agility — the power to quickly and tactically change velocity or route — is a vital think about football (soccer) performance. A brand new examine stories that two new agility tests can efficiently discriminate between youth football players at under-17 and under-19, with the older players exhibiting enhanced agility. In distinction, different traits considered related to agility, resembling physique dimensions and sprinting skills, weren’t considerably different between the 2 age teams. Published in Frontiers in Physiology, the examine means that particular agility coaching might pay dividends in enhanced youth football participant agility and performance.

Sports scientists are creating tests to determine participant strengths and new teaching methods. One focus is agility, given its significance to football performance. Parameters considered linked to agility embrace sprinting and leaping skills in addition to physique dimensions. However, most present agility tests have been developed for sports activities aside from football.

“During a football game, players frequently change their direction and speed in reaction to external factors, such as an opponent moving closer,” explains Professor Damir Sekulic from the University of Split in Croatia. “A player can also pre-plan quick changes in direction speed, such as running into a free space to get open for a pass. While both reactive and pre-planned agility are important in football, there is a lack of soccer-specific agility tests.”

Sekulic, together with Professor Haris Pojskic from Mid Sweden University and different colleagues in Croatia and Sweden, subsequently got down to develop agility tests particularly for football players.

The researchers requested junior players to dribble a ball in direction of 4 plastic cones spaced broadly aside. When every participant approached the cones, a lightweight turned on above considered one of them. The participant then wanted to bounce the ball off a board close to the lit cone and return to the beginning place as rapidly as attainable.

The rationale behind the take a look at is that extra agile players will full the duty in a shorter time. To assess reactive agility, the researchers didn’t inform the players which cone would gentle, whereas to check pre-planned agility, the players knew which cone would gentle and so might plan their actions.

The analysis crew used the tests to evaluate youth football players in Sweden in under-17 and under-19 divisions. As the older players had been in football coaching for longer, it was anticipated that they might have greater performance levels. The researchers additionally measured different parameters considered linked to agility, together with sprinting/leaping skills and physique dimensions.


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Players within the under-19 group confirmed greater reactive and pre-planned agility scores. These findings are placing, as a result of the brand new agility tests have been the one measurements that distinguished between the older and youthful players. The different parameters, resembling leaping and sprinting potential, weren’t considerably different between players of different ages.

“The superiority of the under-19 players in agility may be a direct consequence of their longer involvement in football training,” says Pojskic. “Coaches who work with young football players should be aware that agility development between 17 and 19 years is mostly dependent on specific training for motor proficiency. There is no evidence that developing other capacities, such as sprinting or jumping, has any positive impact on agility in players of this age.”

The findings recommend that particularly creating agility in youth football players, slightly than focusing completely on attributes resembling leaping and sprinting skills, might improve participant agility and performance.


Original article: Importance of Reactive Agility and Change of Direction Speed in Differentiating Performance Levels in Junior Soccer Players: Reliability and Validity of Newly Developed Soccer-Specific Tests

REPUBLISHING GUIDELINES: Open entry and sharing analysis is a part of Frontiers’ mission. Unless in any other case famous, you can republish articles posted in the Frontiers information weblog — so long as you embrace a hyperlink again to the unique analysis. Selling the articles will not be allowed.



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