Football Training for Agility

There is no argument that football players need to be quick and agile. Agility training for football players in a must and needs to be addressed in every teams training program. In this article, we will discuss how the development of motor skills will help improve agility.

You have to get scientific about your approach. It is not good enough to simply engage in a bunch of cardiovascular exercises that do nothing to develop the specific motor skills necessary to best perform your given position. You have to know what has been proven to work to increase agility. You first need to define exactly what motor skills that you are attempting to enhance. Only then can you devise an efficient program to hone in on them with agility exercises.

Motor Learning Science Background

Motor movements have two classifications: open and closed. Each type demands specific functioning from the central nervous system (CNS). Each also requires very distinct interpretations of receptor information, efficient response mechanisms, memory recall and neuromuscular stimuli.

Low level motor movement, closed motor skills, in this situation of execution, is pretty much static. In other words, they remain constant and predictable.

* They have definitive starting and stopping points.

* Neuromuscular feedback to the CNS has a very small role in the execution of the movement. That means that there is very little involvement from the muscular proprioceptors for correction once the movement is set into play.

* A muscular proprioceptor is a signaling mechanism in a muscle or a joint that provides information to the CNS concerning the appropriateness of a given movement.

* The movement is self-directed and initiated from the intention of the athlete.

Some examples of closed motor skills are golf strokes, track and field events, archery and weightlifting. You see, these actions are stable and predictable – not a lot of variance involved.

At the other extreme of motor movement are the open skills. * These are more complex and require more feedback from the proprioceptors because they occur in non-static situations. * Split-second adjustments are commonly needed to successfully execute these movements. Incorrect bodily positioning, harm-announcing pressure and of course sharp pains are some of the possible feedback scenarios for incorrect motions.

* There can also be instantaneous reactions in movement from visual and auditory stimuli. For instance, a third baseman may immediately go into motion upon a split-second projection of a batter’s contact with a pitched ball. Also, a basketball player may immediately respond to a vocal signal from a point guard.

* Open motor skills are called “forced pace” skills because of the ever-evolving conditions in which they occur. Instantaneously precise actions and reactions are required for optimal success.

Obviously, open motor skills require a different and more advanced type of conditioning for their development. It can be a complex science just to discern the sport-specific motor skills to develop. Agility training for football varies with the position played and the natural abilities of the players. Also, it follows that there are an infinite number of possible scenarios that could or could not be task-specific enough to be beneficial when performing agility training for football.

In essence, agility is the ability to change your direction. This doesn’t simply apply to your entire bodily direction, but also to specific areas or parts of your body. An example would be a wide receiver jumping through the air, looking back over his own shoulders, sighting the ball sailing towards him, sustaining his altitude maximally, extending his hands high around his right side all while anticipating and preparing for an eminent collision with an oncoming opponent. This is a constant event.

Agility training for football is considered to be the most important overall element of a player’s training regimen. Agility training must be varied from position to position as well. For example, a defensive back may cover 10 to 15 yards every play of the game while an offensive lineman may never move more than 5 to 10 yards in any given play. There are skill positions and power positions in the game and each type must train for agility differently.

Here are some basic agility training exercises for football:

W – Pattern Cones are placed in the form of an elongated W (about 10 or 12 yards apart). The players run in straight lines from cone to cone. Focus is concentrated on rapid starts and stops.

Lateral Shuffle Take a dozen cones and place them roughly 5 yards apart, 1 yard in front of each other. Perform a lateral shuffle through the cones with optimal speed. No crossing feet. Stay low to the ground.

Figure 8 Shuffle 2 cones are placed roughly 2 yards apart. Moving around the cones, your football athlete makes 6 shuffle movements, in a figure 8 pattern. The direction of the shuffle is then reversed and the shuffles repeated.

These are just a few of the unlimited varieties of agility training exercises for football. Many other exercises and movement patterns can be used. The important thing to remember is that you are preparing yourself to respond instantaneously to any number of unpredictable external stimuli. You have to keep your mind open to visual stimuli and auditory commands as well as physical pressures and signals. Agility training for football is some of the most important training that players do. it needs to be practiced year round.