Validity of a Reactive Agility Test for Australian Football

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To study the validity of a video-based reactive agility test in Australian footballers.

Methods:

15 higher performance, 15 lower performance, and 12 nonfootballers completed a light-based reactive agility test (LRAT), a video-based reactive agility test (VRAT), and a planned test (PLAN).

Results:

With skill groups pooled, agility time in PLAN (1346 ± 66 ms) was significantly faster (P = .001) than both reactive tests (VRAT = 1550 ± 102 ms; LRAT = 1572 ± 97 ms). In addition, decision time was significantly faster (P = .001; d = 0.8) in LRAT (278 ± 36 ms) than VRAT (311 ± 47 ms). The correlation in agility time between the two reactive tests (r = .75) was higher than between the planned and reactive tests (r = .41–.68). Higher performance players had faster agility and movement times on VRAT (agility, 130 ± 24 ms, d = 1.27, P = .004; movement, 69 ± 73 ms, d = 0.88, P = .1) and LRAT (agility, 95 ± 86 ms, d = 0.99, P = .08; movement, 79 ± 74 ms; d = 0.9; P = .08) than the nonfootballers. In addition, higher (55 ± 39 ms, d = 0.87, P = .05) and lower (40 ± 57 ms, d = 0.74, P = .18) performance groups exhibited somewhat faster agility time than nonfootballers on PLAN. Furthermore, higher performance players were somewhat faster than lower performance for agility time on the VRAT (63 ± 85 ms, d = 0.82, P = .16) and decision time on the LRAT (20 ± 39 ms, d = 0.66, P = .21), but there was little difference in PLAN agility time between these groups (15 ± 150 ms, d = 0.24, P = .8).

Conclusions:

Differences in decision-making speed indicate that the sport-specific nature of the VRAT is not duplicated by a light-based stimulus. In addition, the VRAT is somewhat better able to discriminate different groups of Australian footballers than the LRAT. Collectively, this indicates that a video-based test is a more valid assessment tool for examining agility in Australian footballers.

Greg Henry, Brian Dawson, and Brendan Lay are with the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley Perth, WA, Australia. Warren Young is with the School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, VIC, Australia.