Are the Perceptual and Decision-Making Components of Agility Trainable? A Preliminary Investigation


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Abstract

Serpell, BG, Young, WB, and Ford, M. 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 ±σ). 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.

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