5 Ways to Improve Change of Direction

Taken from Parisi HQ

Agility is something every athlete needs, no matter the sport. When it comes to agility, the goal is to be able to change the direction of movement as effectively as possible.

There are several ways  to improve your agility. Today we will discuss five main focus points.

1. Technique: Learn How to Cut and Shift Weight Properly

Technique is the base in being able to have proper execution. When learning how to change direction effectively, athletes need to have the knowledge and ability to utilize the proper technique.

Training technique can focus on perfecting the form while fixing the unique faults of any athlete. If an athlete has inefficient movement habits due to poor technique, that athlete is not going to see an improvement in agility.

We implement several exercises to improve technique, such as hockey stops and speed skaters.

2. Strength: Strong Hips Allow for a Quick and Safe Cut or Change of Direction

Wait, I need strength to become agile? It may not sound optimal, but athletes need explosive strength qualities to maximize their speed and agility performance.

When an athlete wants to achieve velocities in their movements, strength is crucial. Changing direction at a high rate requires force application across several different muscles groups.

Strength may not seen important when it comes to working towards a high-level of agility, however, it makes a difference in any ability to change direction and perform a quick and safe cut.

3. Power: Utilize Lateral Jumps to Increase Speed and Reaction Time

When changing direction, an athlete needs power. Within strength comes the range of power sources from different muscles.

We need to consider the region of force application and muscular work, both of which need power. When an athlete has power, agility increases through speed and reaction time.

To increase power, we implement exercises such as hurdles, box jumps, and body weight variations.

4. Manual Agility Drills: Deliberate Thought

In manual agility drills, we are able to improve an athlete’s ability to make quick and deliberate cuts while training with us. With the high-intensity and rapid change in direction, these drills are commonly used in all of our training sessions.

Some manual agility drills include 3 and 4 cone drills, dot drills, and line drills.

5. Game-Like Drills: React and Move Without Thinking

Practice is what makes perfection in an athlete’s agility. Through constant repetition, changing direction at a fast-rate becomes natural.

This is where muscle memory comes into play. When we consider running, it is usually a technique that is learned at an early age. On the other hand, agility is something that is not. This is where different agility improving exercises come into play to improve that skill.

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