Detecting Deficits in Change of Direction Performance Using the Preplanned Multidirectional Australian Football League Agility Test

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Hart, NH, Spiteri, T, Lockie, RG, Nimphius, S, and Newton, RU. Detecting deficits in change of direction performance using the preplanned multidirectional Australian Football League agility test. J Strength Cond Res 28(12): 3552–3556, 2014—The Australian Football League (AFL) agility test is a preplanned multidirectional circuit involving 5 directional changes of various magnitudes that might differently assess athletes of particular leg dominance. This study served to establish whether the AFL agility test appropriately examines athletes of differing limb dominance, while also quantifying performance deficits prevalent between limbs of Australian Footballers. Fifty-eight Australian Footballers were recruited from the Western Australian Football League (age = 21.9 ± 2.8 years; height = 183.7 ± 5.9 cm; weight = 86.4 ± 4.7 kg). Two circuits of the AFL agility test were set up in accordance with official specifications. The finish line of the second circuit was relocated to the opposite side to modify the starting direction. Footballers were randomized and counterbalanced between versions, performing 3 trials in each direction. Paired t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) were used to examine differences between dominant and nondominant trials. Independent t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) were used to identify differences between left and right leg dominant groups. The current version of the AFL agility test appropriately examined ∼61% of footballers in this cohort. The remaining ∼39% produced significantly faster times during the alternate version (0.63–0.82 seconds; p ≤ 0.001). All footballers demonstrated a performance deficit of 5–10% between limbs (∼0.72 seconds; p ≤ 0.001). Limb dominance (directional preference) was evident for all footballers. Change of direction capabilities should therefore be examined bilaterally to eliminate bias toward athletes with particular leg dominance profiles and to provide a limb deficit measure for enhanced athletic profiling outcomes.

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