Are the perceptual and decision-making components of agility trainable? A preliminary investigation. J Strength Cond Res 25(5): 1240-1248, 2011-Agility is an open motor skill; requiring change of direction speed (CODS) and perceptual and decision-making ability. The aim of this study was to determine whether the perceptual and decision-making component of agility can be trained. Fifteen rugby league players were tested on a sport-specific reactive agility test (RAT) and a CODS test. Players were then allocated to a training group (n = 8) or a nontraining group (n = 7). The training group underwent 3 weeks of reactive agility training that was designed to enhance perceptual and decision-making ability. After 3 weeks, all players were tested again. The training group's mean reactive agility time was 1.92 +/- 0.17 seconds preintervention and 1.66 +/- 0.14 seconds postintervention. The nontraining group's mean reactive agility time was 1.89 +/- 0.16 and 1.87 +/- 0.15 seconds, respectively. Mean CODS time for the training group was 1.64 +/- 0.15 seconds preintervention and 1.66 +/- 0.14 seconds postintervention. The nontraining group's mean CODS time was 1.61 +/- 0.12 and 1.62 +/- 0.12 seconds. Mean perception and response time for the training group, measured on the RAT, was 0.33 +/- 0.33 seconds preintervention and 0.04 +/- 0.22 seconds postintervention. The nontraining group's values were 0.34 +/- 0.20 and 0.27 +/- 0.28 seconds, respectively (results are +/-sigma). Differences in mean reactive agility time and perception and response time from pre to postintervention for the training group were statistically significant, as were differences in those values between the training and nontraining group post intervention. All other comparisons were not. Results from this study suggest that the perceptual and decision-making components of agility are trainable. Coaches should incorporate some open motor skills training in their programs when training agility.
The development of a new test of agility for rugby league. J Strength Cond Res 24(12): 3270-3277, 2010-Agility requires change of direction speed (CODS) and also perceptual and decision-making skills and reaction speed. The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid agility test for rugby league, which stressed all those dimensions. Players from a subelite rugby league team were tested twice on a sport-specific reactive agility test (RAT) and CODS test. Data were analyzed for reliability. For validity results from the subelite groups, first test was compared with data from an elite group. The RAT required participants to run toward an unpredictable life-size video of an attacking opponent and react to that video by changing direction. The CODS test required the same movement patterns however direction changes were preplanned. The subelite group's mean time to complete the CODS test and RAT on their first test was 1.67 +/- 0.15 and 1.98 +/- 0.16 seconds, respectively, and 1.62 +/- 0.14 and 1.91 +/- 0.17 seconds, respectively, on their second test (results are +/- sigma). Statistical analyses revealed no significant difference in means (p < 0.05) and good correlation (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.87 and 0.82, respectively). The elite group's mean time to complete the tests was 1.65 +/- 0.09 and 1.79 +/- 0.12 seconds, respectively. Statistical analyses revealed a significant difference in mean RAT time between the elite group and the subelite group (p < 0.05). The RAT was reliable and valid. Performance differences on the RAT were attributed to differences in perceptual skills and/or reaction ability. Testing and training agility should therefore stress those dimensions of agility and not just CODS.