Imagine you’re given a sudden challenge to play a 20-second game of tag with one other athlete … for a million dollars.
Your opponent is your same size, build, and gender.
You have 30-square-yards in a local playground with a jungle gym in the center.
The player who’s more agile and avoids being tagged is the winner who takes all.
I know that this hypothetical child’s play seems far-fetched. But if you answer honestly, would you be ready to exert yourself to win without the fear of getting hurt while you play?
For most aging athletes, this fear is either in the forefront or back of their mind.
If you think about it, you’d never see a kid hesitate because they’re afraid of pulling a muscle, tweaking their knee, or twisting an ankle.
The reason is that they are #pliable. This means they have a spring in their step, and their body is able to adapt to play anything at anytime. And without worrying that they’ll get injured.
Yes, I know that #pliability is Tom Brady’s latest catchphrase/movement. Brady has been the poster-child for pliability as he continues to play at a high level (to say the least) after 17 years in the NFL. So he gets to toot his horn about it.
But it’s something that I’ve known about for years. It’s what I strive for for myself and my clients.
And I want it for you.
If you’ve had any hesitation when you’re about to get in the game, then it’s time to work on one of the most important aspects of athleticism. And that’s your agility.
Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction quickly. All while maintaining good body control and without decreasing speed.
This is a key component of your athleticism, and of your ability to ward off injury in sport and exercise.
Even in everyday life, you never know when you might have to dodge an electric scooter on a sidewalk. #LOL. This has happened one too many times to me in Santa Monica.
To stay on top of this, you need agility training. You need to practice subjecting yourself to the predictably unpredictable. On a consistent basis.
Here are 3 ways for you to improve your agility:
1. Programmable Agility
Plan out a sequence of movement patterns that will challenge you in three dimensions, such as:
- Sprinting forward-to-backward
- Shuffling / sliding from side-to-side
- Turning in a rotational manner
Practice controlling your transitions while maintaining the best alignment in terms of your posture.
These drill should be short in duration (5-10 seconds). Because the focus should be on your highest effort with quality, and not quantity.
All you need is 10-square-yards to setup a drill. For example, place four cones in a square, five yards apart. You can get as creative as you want to combine movement patterns and changes of direction to build this skill.
2. Reactive Agility
This is when you would be in reaction to another athlete or signals from a coach.
The game of tag is one great example.
3. Quickness Drills
These drills are all about foot speed in variety of directions.
A speed ladder is a great tool to perform this exercise. Because you can go as quick as possible in a safe, designated space.
How To Move Forward
Incorporate any one or a combination of these three agility exercises, 2x per week to see improvement. With better performance in terms of your acceleration, deceleration, and body control, you can have greater confidence to always be ready for action.
To be truly agile, you need a foundation of mobility, balance, and base strength.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be releasing the first module of my new “Search & Rescue Mobility Program”. It’s a guide to your daily self-care as an athlete for life.
To get the latest update on it’s release date, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, stay athletic!