By Zoid Fitness Team on Nov 18, 2019 6:00:00 AM
Every person has the gift of an athlete, whether it is already enhanced or is still yet to be discovered and tapped. Your gift of athleticism may be different from what your peers have, but don't you worry about it! Even professional basketball players vary in terms of the areas where they are athletically-gifted at. Some of them possess an explosive vertical leap, while others outrun their opponents with their blistering foot speed. Of course, you can put in the work to acquire multiple skills but it will take an incredible commitment and consistency for you to succeed.
While there is a variety of training routines that will help you enhance your performance and acquire skills you have not learned before, you should consider working on your speed and agility as one of your starting points. Putting in the work on these two important basic skills will not only increase how fast you move but will also build a solid base for your body to be more explosive in its every movement. Being agile enough should also increase other essential components of your performance like flexibility, balance, and coordination - three prerequisite factors in skill development.
Are you a striving football player who is always at the end of the bench waiting for your rightful turn to show off your potential? Then what are you waiting for? Go to the nearest gym or soccer field and insert speed and agility drills to your workout routine! Now, if you are a gym owner or a personal trainer, you might want to teach your client athletes some speed and quickness (SAQ) drills that will improve how agile he can be on the field or on the court. Buy the necessary agility improvement equipment and machines for your gym and encourage your athletes to start doing SAQ drills as soon as possible! Now that you are aware of how fundamental these two components are in advancing your skills, let me tell you about the reasons why speed and agility improve performance in sports. Take some time to read through it, and I'm telling you that you will be more than motivated to put in the maximum effort to improve how fast and agile you move!
Why are speed and agility essential in reaching peak performance?
1. Builds up your explosive power
Do you ever wonder why there are athletes who have a really quick first step and makes weaving through defenders look like a very easy thing to do? If you watch a lot of basketball games, you would be amazed at how these players can quickly put on the brakes after sprinting so fast with the ball. But that is not where their dynamic movement ends. After suddenly stopping, they are still able to do a lot of swift dribble moves and then leave the defender in the dust and go up for a strong, creative lay-up at the hoop. This amazing sequence is not easy to do, and it is not just an effect of their natural physical abilities. This is a result of days and nights of hard work, and spending a lot of time increasing their speed and quickness.
The sequence I mentioned above is a basketball player's display of explosive power. While explosiveness is a show of strength and power, it is also an indication that the athlete has incredible flexibility and balance - two proofs that that athlete is committed on SAQ drills. Working on your agility, which is the skill responsible for changing directions without decreasing your speed, can also improve how flexible and balanced you are. Speed and agility drills don't just cover your lower body, but the workout also targets core muscle strength and hip movement. If you can boost these components, you would absolutely be more explosive in your every movement, whether it be on sprinting or leaping.
2. Boosts effectiveness and efficiency in your footwork
My high school coach would always tell our team to find ways to preserve our stamina throughout the game. At first, this was hard to understand because I wanted to go all out 100% whenever I am on the court. After all, it was what motivated me as a player and I am sure that this is also your mindset. I didn't pay attention to it so I always find myself drained at the latter part of the game when the stakes are definitely higher. It was a mistake that I learned of, and I realized that I need to be more aware of my movements so that I would not waste my stamina and energy.
One way to be efficient with your movements is to enhance your footwork. You can achieve this feat by including more speed and agility exercises in your training routines. The secret to this improvement is that you will learn how to accurately time your feet movement, as well as correctly perceive the right direction to go to. Stamina and endurance are important assets of a player's game, and having an effective and efficient footwork should help preserve your much-needed energy.
It is when a game has reached its waning minutes that players like you are given the spotlight to show that they don't just have the skills, but also the guts and willingness to lead their team to the victory. You can only do that if you still have the energy to finish the game.
3. Quickens your reaction time
During a game in any sports, there will always be unexpected situations that require the players to make split-second decisions. I am very sure that you have experienced these instances, and that there are times that you made the wrong choice or fail to instantly react. Don't be easily encouraged! It is not just you, but every athlete goes through that learning curve. Of course, you need to put in the work so that you would not commit that mistake again. One way for you to fast track your reaction time is to consistently engage in agility drills.
I do believe in the fact that working smart can trump people who just work hard. That is not to say that working hard is not an important part of your game. But you should prioritize outsmarting your opponents rather than outpacing them. There are varieties of agility drills that will help you simulate the environment on the field or on the court. Reaction time is all about how fast your mind will envision what will happen next, and how your body can follow what your mind instructs it to do. You might find this hard to believe, but shadow boxing is one type of mental agility drill. Aside from improving the boxer's footwork, it also helps him envision situations in the ring and simulate how he will react and counter to his opponent's attacks.
Now that you have enhanced your flexibility, balance, quickness, and mental agility, your body coordination will take a great leap. You cannot exhibit correct bodily coordination if you fail to work on even just one of those vital components. There is a fine line that separates good athletes from the great ones. One of the factors that characterize that valuable line is how you can transform from a one-dimensional athlete to a player that can exhibit multiple facets of athleticism. That is called coordination, something that you can grow when you take up agility training.
Always remember that agility drills can also enhance your mental perception and vision, helping you quicken your reaction time to the changing circumstances of the game.
4. Prevents injury occurrence
How can you reach your optimum performance if you keep re-aggravating old injuries and sustaining new ones? We have seen so many great and talented players whose careers are ended short because of unfortunate injuries. These injuries do not just hit you physically, but they also affect you psychologically. We all know that any kind of sports requires athletes to utilize both their physical and mental gifts. If you are constantly bombarded by different injuries, may it be minor or major ones, I assure you that you would have a very difficult time returning to your best form.
You might be asking yourself why I am telling you about these warnings regarding injuries. It is because you will have a greater chance to prevent injuries if you have an increased level of speed and agility. If you can remember what I said earlier, agility drills will help you be more flexible and balanced. If you can be flexible enough, that means that your joints and muscles are looser. Now, if your joints are loose, you will be able to extend your movements in wide ranges of motion without hurting yourself. SAQ and agility drills are designed to improve your flexibility, so including them on your workouts will definitely lessen the risk of injury.
Furthermore, having an improved agility should also decrease your recovery period. You cannot just dive deep into weightlifting drills and strength enhancement exercises without building up your agility. You will only abuse your body, which will take maybe a couple of days or more to recover. You won't be able to work out during that span, making your progress much slower than usual. Agility drills will target your body's musculoskeletal system, which is responsible for healing the soreness of your body after workouts.
Working on your agility will not only prevent you from sustaining injuries. But because it decreases your time of recovery, you will be able to go to the gym more often than usual. With that said, you can develop your skills faster and learn more along the way.
So, if you're a high school team coach, a determined athlete or just an avid fitness junkie, putting in more time to agility training will absolutely help you reach your ultimate goals! Do you want your players to be at their peak performance? Is it your burning desire to take your game to the streets and show off what you can do on the basketball court?
If you are curious and determined to try how agility training can advance your overall performance, you can visit our Movements and Drills page to learn all about it! With several specific exercises and drills to work out your agility and flexibility, we can assure you that you’ll never regret the moment you decided to choose ZOID. It even has a number of tutorial videos of agility drills that you can follow! You just have to go to the site, watch the tutorials, take down notes and then get ready to include the drills to your workout!
Players, trainers, coaches or gym owners, what are you waiting on?