Agility, by definition, is “the ability to quickly change body position or direction of the body.” This is important in sports such as football, basketball and soccer, where success relies on the player being able to weave past his or her opponent. It’s just as imperative in individual sports like tennis and racquetball, where the goal is to arrive at any given spot on the court before the ball.
The key to being agile is to have proper coordination and balance so that you can execute your movements with speed and power. You have to be able to change direction on a moment’s notice and still be able to maintain good form.
There are many ways that you can test for agility. One option is to do what’s called a “T-Test”. This is where you set up cones in the shape of a “T”, with three cones on the top being approximately five yards apart and the bottom one being ten yards down.
While being timed, an individual would start at the bottom of the T and sprint up to the cone at the intersection. Once there, he or she would shuffle toward the cone on the far left, then shuffle all the way to the cone on the far right, shuffle back to the intersecting cone and sprint back to the bottom of the T.
A male that can complete this in 9.5 seconds or less, or 10.5 seconds for a female, would be said to be extremely agile. However, if either sex took more than two seconds longer, being 11.5 seconds for men or 12.5 seconds for women, then they would be labeled as “poor” on the this particular agility test.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine in 2006, plyometric training can improve agility. Some options you can do at home are to put a ladder or circle rings on the ground and try to maneuver through the open spaces as quickly as possible.
With practice, you can improve your agility and become a better athlete at whatever your sport of choice. Consistency with training is the key to success.