Summer is in full swing and we’ve got a lot of different ideas on our mind: why social media turns us into absolutists, how every tool has a place, what we are doing to continue adapting training to COVID-19, and how to make the best brisket. We cover them all on this week’s episode, with a few rants mixed in as well. Read more
Few sports are played in one direction. How fast you can change direction and move in multiple directions is often the different maker. In May our site theme was changing direction and agility. We put together 1 new video, 2 podcasts, and 9 articles from 12 contributors exploring how athletes change direction, how to train for that, and more.
Frans Bosch has made coaches rethink how how we approach strength and conditioning. Rather than thinking just about muscles and strength, strength and conditioning can be use to enhance motor learning and coordination. His new book on agility comes out in June and we had the chance to sit down with him to discuss the topic. We cover the role of perception in agility, intrinsic learning through sport, groups of attractors, strategies to strengthen cocontractions, and the role of classical strength training.
If you want to learn about skill acquisition, Rob Gray is your guy. His day job is as Associate Professor of Human Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, with a focus on researching perceptual-motor control in sports, driving, and aviation. But in addition, his passion is spreading that knowledge outside of academia. His Perception & Action Podcast is on my favorites list and helps translate the latest research in the field easy to digest nuggets of wisdom that coaches can use in training. Read more
Frans Bosch’s upcoming book Anatomy of Agility: Movement Analysis in Sport is the most comprehensive text I have seen on human movement and the underlying biological systems that regulate it. It expands on Bosch’s previous book Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach and goes into a huge amount of detail to explain how complex dynamical systems theory applies to the regulation of change of direction in field sports. Below I hope to explain the key takeaways in the book, where I struggled, and how it will impact my own approach as a strength and conditioning coach. Read more
Agility training is often perceived to be conducted in two dimensions. Whether programmed, random, game or task orientated, it usually consists of change of directions on a left –right and forward –backward continuum. Yet movement rarely takes place in just two dimensions: subtle and not so subtle changes of height and depth also take place. A boxer bobbing and weaving or a gymnast doing a double front somersault both have to move their centre of gravity up and down as well as sideways and forwards respectively. Read more
The purpose of this article is to give any readers an insight into how I think about and prepare people for change of direction tasks. These change of direction tasks are simply that, not agility tasks. We want athletes to be able to change direction powerfully, quickly and efficiently in competition. In preparation, I like to look at these qualities in reverse: efficiency, speed and power. Change of direction all starts with promoting efficiency by understanding the attractors of the movement. Read more
Underdogs come and go, but Gonzaga University’s basketball team keeps coming back. The small school team is the perennial overachiever and strength coach Travis Knight has been there the whole time. He joins this week’s podcast to discuss the unique team culture and process that helps them keep up with their bigger budget competitors, as well as his approach to training agility for one of the most demanding sports out there.
When we talk about agility in sports, you cannot separate the concept from perception. What makes the quality of agility unique is that it is a movement in response to a stimulus. How we set up training to deliver that stimulus has an impact on whether our agility training will actually transfer to improve agility performance in games. In the article below I look in more detail at the role of the stimulus in both training and competition. Read more
While great attention has been placed on how to train linear sprinting, in team sports running in a straight line is only a small part of the game. As players have to evade the opposition, sprinting is more often curvilinear and very rarely linear. Does this mean as coaches we should spend less time sprinting linearly and more time sprinting in a “sport-specific” curvilinear manner? Read more