Effects of agility, change of direction and combination training on agility in adolescent football players
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Agility is defined as a rapid whole-body movement with change of direction or velocity in response to a stimulus. Only a few studies have investigated the influence of different training interventions on agility in adolescent athletes. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of three training interventions on agility in adolescent football players. Thirty male adolescent football players (age 13.6±0.5 years), from three different teams, participated in the study. Teams were randomly divided into one of the three training groups; an agility training group (AG, n=14), a change of direction group (CODG, n=8), and a combination group (COMB, n=8). Each group participated into two intervention sessions a week, on top of their normal football training. The testing included isometric leg press, reactive strength index test, 20m sprint, change of direction (Y-test) and football specific reactive agility test. The AG and CODG groups improved their agility performance significantly during the intervention. The improved agility performance may be partly due to improved stretch shortening cycle utilization, and improved reaction time during the agility task. Both of these were likely increased by the pre-activation of leg muscles and leg stiffness, which shortened contact time and the propulsive impulse produced during the agility task. In conclusion, it is important to train both the movement and reaction aspects of agility when the aim is to improve agility performance. Muscle strength also plays a crucial role in agility, especially in adolescent athletes. Therefore coaches should also aim to improve the strength of their athletes. ...
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