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Damien M. Hess, Christopher J. Joyce, Brent L. Arnold and Bruce M. Gansneder

Context:

Agility training has been proposed as an important tool in rehabilitation. However, it is unclear which types of agility training are most useful.

Objective:

To assess the effects of agility training on balance in individuals with functionally unstable ankles.

Design:

A 2-group experimental design with repeated measures.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Patients:

Twenty college-aged volunteers, each with 1 functionally unstable ankle, were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups.

Interventions:

Subjects in the experimental group performed agility training 3 times per week for 4 weeks.

Main Outcome Measures:

Subjects were tested for static single-leg balance before and after the training period. Anterior/posterior sway amplitude, medial/lateral sway amplitude, and sway index were assessed using the Chattex Balance System.

Results:

No significant differences in balance were found after the agility training.

Conclusions:

Agility training did not improve static single-leg balance in subjects with functionally unstable ankles.

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Anne Delextrat, Bernard Grosgeorge and Francois Bieuzen

Purpose:

To investigate the reliability and determinants of performance in a new test of planned agility in elite junior basketball players.

Methods:

Seventeen female (15.1 ± 0.4 y, 176.9 ± 11.2 cm, 65.7 ± 10.9 kg) and 42 male (14.9 ± 0.4 y, 193.7 ± 8.1 cm, 79.0 ± 12.0 kg) elite junior basketball players performed 5 fitness tests presented in a random order, including a 20-m sprint, a planned-agility test, a triple bilateral horizontal countermovement jump, and 2 triple unilateral horizontal countermovement jumps (with each leg separately). The novelty of the planned-agility test is that it included both offensive and defensive movements. The determinants of planned agility were assessed by a stepwise-regression analysis, and the reliability of the new test was evaluated by the intraclass correlation coefficient and the typical error of measurement.

Results:

The main results show good reliability of the new test of planned agility. In addition, the determinants of planned-agility performance were different between genders, with sprint performance explaining 74.8% of the variance for girls, while unilateral jump performance and body mass were the most important for boys, accounting for 24.0% and 8.9% of the variance, respectively, in planned agility.

Conclusions:

These results highlight a gender effect on the determinants of planned-agility performance in young elite basketball players and suggest that straight-line sprint and unilateral horizontal tests must be implemented to test elite junior players.

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Robert G. Lockie, Matthew D. Jeffriess, Tye S. McGann, Samuel J. Callaghan and Adrian B. Schultz

Context:

Research indicates that planned and reactive agility are different athletic skills. These skills have not been adequately assessed in male basketball players.

Purpose:

To define whether 10-m-sprint performance and planned and reactive agility measured by the Y-shaped agility test can discriminate between semiprofessional and amateur basketball players.

Methods:

Ten semiprofessional and 10 amateur basketball players completed 10-m sprints and planned- and reactive-agility tests. The Y-shaped agility test involved subjects sprinting 5 m through a trigger timing gate, followed by a 45° cut and 5-m sprint to the left or right through a target gate. In the planned condition, subjects knew the cut direction. For reactive trials, subjects visually scanned to find the illuminated gate. A 1-way analysis of variance (P < .05) determined between-groups differences. Data were pooled (N = 20) for a correlation analysis (P < .05).

Results:

The reactive tests differentiated between the groups; semiprofessional players were 6% faster for the reactive left (P = .036) and right (P = .029) cuts. The strongest correlations were between the 10-m sprints and planned-agility tests (r = .590–.860). The reactive left cut did not correlate with the planned tests. The reactive right cut moderately correlated with the 10-m sprint and planned right cut (r = .487–.485).

Conclusions:

The results reemphasized that planned and reactive agility are separate physical qualities. Reactive agility discriminated between the semiprofessional and amateur basketball players; planned agility did not. To distinguish between male basketball players of different ability levels, agility tests should include a perceptual and decision-making component.

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Jaci L. VanHeest, Jim Stoppani, Tim P. Scheett, Valerie Collins, Melissa Roti, Jeffrey Anderson, George J. Allen, Jay Hoffman, William J. Kraemer and Carl M. Maresh

Objective:

To determine the effects of Vicoprofen® and ibuprofen on aerobic performance, agility, and pain after exercise-induced muscle damage.

Design:

Double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled, repeated-dose clinical trial.

Setting:

Human-performance and sports-medicine laboratory.

Participants:

36 healthy men.

Methods and Measures:

Baseline testing was performed, 72 hours after which subjects performed eccentric exercise to induce muscle damage. They were evaluated for pain 24 hours postdamage and placed randomly into 3 groups: Vicoprofen (VIC), ibuprofen, or placebo (P). Postdamage testing was performed every day for 5 days. Subjects performed an economy run and a t-agility test to determine exercise performance.

Results:

The drugs had no significant effect on performance throughout the 5-day evaluation period. Pain was lower at days 4 and 5 in the VIC group than in P.

Conclusions:

It appears that Vicoprofen reduced pain after muscle damage, but the drug interventions did not enhance performance in aerobic and agility tasks.

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Michael J. Davies, Warren Young, Damian Farrow and Andrew Bahnert

Purpose:

To compare the agility demands of 4 small-sided games (SSGs) and evaluate the variability in demands for elite Australian Football (AF).

Methods:

Fourteen male elite Australian Football League (AFL) players (mean ± SD; 21.7 ± 3.1 y, 189.6 ± 9.0 cm, 88.7 ± 10.0 kg, 39.4 ± 57.1 games) completed 4 SSGs of 3 × 45-s bouts each with modified designs. Video notational analysis, GPS at 5 Hz, and triaxial accelerometer data expressed the external player loads within games. Three comparisons were made using a paired t test (P < .05), and magnitudes of differences were reported with effect size (ES) statistics.

Results:

Reduced area per player (increased density) produced a small increase in total agility maneuvers (SSG1, 7.2 ± 1.3; SSG2, 8.8 ± 4.1), while a large 2D player load was accumulated (P < .05, ES = 1.22). A reduction in players produced a moderate (ES = 0.60) total number of agility maneuvers (SSG 3, 11.3 ± 6.1; SSG 2, 8.3 ± 3.6); however, a greater variability was found. The implementation of a 2-handed-tag rule resulted in a somewhat trivial decline (P > .05, ES = 0.16) in agility events compared with normal AFL tackling rules (SSG 2, 8.3 ± 3.6; SSG 4, 7.8 ± 2.6).

Conclusions:

SSG characteristics can influence agility-training demand, which can vary considerably for individuals. Coaches should carefully consider SSG design to maximize the potential to develop agility for all players.

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Jay Hertel, Craig R. Denegar, Phil D. Johnson, Sheri A. Hale and W.E. Buckley

Two studies were performed to estimate the reliability of the Cybex Reactor in assessing agility tasks. In Study 1, participants (n =13) underwent identical testing sessions twice in 1 week. In Study 2, participants (n = 13) underwent identical testing sessions twice in 1 week, once 3 weeks later, and once 6 weeks later. Testing sessions consisted of four identical agility tasks requiring participants to react to cues shown on a video monitor. In Study 1, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were .47 for Day 1 and .75 for Day 2 for time to complete each task. Participants performed faster on Day 2 (p < .05). In Study 2, ICC ranged from .58 to .83. ICC between sessions ranged from .59 to .73. Participants performed significantly faster each successive session except between Weeks 3 and 6 (p < .05). The Reactor appears to be reliable in assessing agility tasks with test–retest intervals of up to 6 weeks.

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Tania Spiteri, Nicolas H. Hart and Sophia Nimphius

The aim of this study was to compare biomechanical and perceptual-cognitive variables between sexes during an offensive and defensive agility protocol. Twelve male and female (n = 24) recreational team sport athletes participated in this study, each performing 12 offensive and defensive agility trials (6 left, 6 right) changing direction in response to movements of a human stimulus. Three-dimensional motion, ground reaction force (GRF), and impulse data were recorded across plant phase for dominant leg change of direction (COD) movements, while timing gates and high-speed video captured decision time, total running time, and post COD stride velocity. Subjects also performed a unilateral isometric squat to determine lower body strength and limb dominance. Group (sex) by condition (2 × 2) MANOVAs with follow-up ANOVAs were conducted to examine differences between groups (P ≤ .05). Male athletes demonstrated significantly greater lower body strength, vertical braking force and impulse application, knee and spine flexion, and hip abduction, as well as faster decision time and post COD stride velocity during both agility conditions compared with females. Differences between offensive and defensive movements appear to be attributed to differences in decision time between sexes. This study demonstrates that biomechanical and perceptual-cognitive differences exist between sexes and within offensive and defensive agility movements.

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Martin Buchheit, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Marc Quod, Thomas Quesnel and Said Ahmaidi

Purpose:

The aim of the current study was to compare the effects of speed/agility (S/A) training with sprint interval training (SIT) on acceleration and repeated sprint ability (RSA) in well-trained male handball players.

Methods:

In addition to their normal training program, players performed either S/A (n = 7) or SIT (n = 7) training for 4 wk. Speed/agility sessions consisted of 3 to 4 series of 4 to 6 exercises (eg, agility drills, standing start and very short sprints, all of <5 s duration); each repetition and series was interspersed with 30 s and 3 min of passive recovery, respectively. Sprint interval training consisted of 3 to 5 repetitions of 30-s all-out shuttle sprints over 40 m, interspersed with 2 min of passive recovery. Pre- and posttests included a countermovement jump (CMJ), 10-m sprint (10m), RSA test and a graded intermittent aerobic test (30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test, VIFT).

Results:

S/A training produced a very likely greater improvement in 10-m sprint (+4.6%, 90% CL 1.2 to 7.8), best (+2.7%, 90% CL 0.1 to 5.2) and mean (+2.2%, 90% CL –0.2 to 4.5) RSA times than SIT (all effect sizes [ES] greater than 0.79). In contrast, SIT resulted in an almost certain greater improvement in VIFT compared with S/A (+5.2%, 90% CL 3.5 to 6.9, with ES = –0.83).

Conclusion:

In well-trained handball players, 4 wk of SIT is likely to have a moderate impact on intermittent endurance capacity only, whereas S/A training is likely to improve acceleration and repeated sprint performance.

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Alison Locke, Michael Sitler, Christopher Aland and Iris Kimura

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a softshell prophylactic ankle stabilizer (PAS) on performance in events involving speed, agility, and vertical jump during long-term use. The events examined were the 24.384-m sprint, 12.192-m shuttle ran, and vertical jump. Subjects were high school basketball players who were randomly assigned to either a PAS (n = 11) or a nonbraced control (n = 13) group. Results of the study revealed that the softshell PAS had no significant effect on any of the three performance events tested over a 3-month basketball season. However, there was a significant difference in 24.384-m sprint and 12.192-m shuttle run times across test sessions regardless of treatment group. In conclusion, the softshell PAS neither enhanced nor inhibited performance in activities involving speed, agility, or vertical jump during long-term use.

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Zachary Y. Kerr, Sarah Fields and R. Dawn Comstock

Background:

Little is known about the epidemiology of dog sport–related injuries. This study examines injuries among handlers and dogs in the sport of dog agility.

Methods:

A cross-sectional pilot study captured data on demographics, exposures, and injury for a sample of agility handlers and dogs. Logistic regressions predicted odds of injury.

Results:

Survey of 217 handlers and 431 dogs identified 31 handler injuries (1.55 training injuries per 1000 hours, 2.14 competition injuries per 1000 runs) and 38 dog injuries (1.74 training injuries per 1000 hours, 1.72 competition injuries per 1000 runs). Handlers most commonly injured knees (48.4%) and lower trunk (29.0%). Most common diagnoses were strains (51.6%) and sprains (32.3%). Obese handlers had increased odds of injury compared with normal weight handlers (OR = 5.5, P < .001). Dogs most commonly injured front paws (23.7%) and shoulders (15.8%). Most common diagnoses were strains (44.7%) and cut/scrapes (21.1%). Injury was positively associated with dog’s age (P < .05). Handlers more commonly reported positive physical, emotional, and social motivations for participation than competitive.

Conclusions:

Despite many health benefits, dog agility poses a risk of injury to both handlers and dogs. Future research on specific mechanisms of injury should drive evidence-based injury prevention strategies.