Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Athlete Performance Testing - Part 9

Our final test, the Pro Agility, is probably one of the more complex performance tests athletes will encounter. The Pro Agility combines components of all 3 previous tests and then some. Explosive power, acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, and reacceleration are all aspects of this test!
This video is not sped up!

With so many components, there is a lot that can go wrong to reduce power output and performance. Our goal as coaches is to identify and minimize these flaws as much as possible!
Let’s examine the start first. When an athlete begins the Pro Agility, they will traditionally start in a three-point stance with both feet and one hand planted on the floor. Remember the valgus knees we encountered with the vertical jump? They can reappear here in the Pro Agility as well.
The thing about valgus knees is that they aren’t always a bad thing when it comes to maximizing athletic performance. In the case of lateral movement, having the knee of the trail leg angled slightly inward actually loads the inside edge of the trail foot and improves force production and movement efficiency when the athlete begins to accelerate to the side. 
Note the valgus knee collapse of the lead leg! This is a no-no!

When the athlete does initiate acceleration, their first step should be taken with the lead leg. In doing so, they will drive off the inside edge of their trail leg and propel their body laterally in a 45-degree angle. It is crucial for athletes to drive their feet backwards behind their center of mass when taking their first step! Failure to do so will result in braking forces that will slow the athlete down!

A first step out in front will put on the brakes! Don't do it!

Just as when an athlete goes to accelerate, when decelerating, they should remain square and facing out. More times than not, when an athlete changes directions, they will simply bend over, touch the cone, turn around, and reaccelerate. This is inefficient and time consuming! Make sure you stay square!
Stay square when changing directions to maximize movement efficiency!
Are any of the flaws identified above slowing down your Pro Agility time? If so, don't sweat it. In our final installment, we'll look at ways to correct these errors and get you moving as efficiently as possible!

Keep Training!
Coach Anthony Colarusso and Akron General Sports Performance

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