Agility (or changing direction in a hurry) is crucial to so many attacking and defending situations. Goalkeepers making point blank saves, defenders staying tight to wingers, forwards trying to beat them, midfielders twisting and turning to open up play. From an attacking perspective, being able to create separation from your defender is crucially important to acquire the time and space required to convert chances. The ability to feint in one direction, before exploding in the other can often be cited the critical factor for goals scored in close proximity of the goal. Here is our four-step guide to enhancing your footballing agility!
Be Strong Enough
What part does strength play in the agility puzzle? It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that when you jam your leg into the floor with the intention of pushing aggressively in another direction, the ability of said leg to cope with high levels of force becomes very advantageous. We have all seen occasions where your lower limbs can’t cope with what is being asked of them, often with some very nasty looking knee injuries. Therefore, making sure your legs are strong and resilient to be able to deal with aggressive decelerating and re accelerating becomes extremely important! When accelerating, your glutes and hamstrings (hinging movements) take centre stage, whereas decelerating requires a large contribution from the quadriceps and groins (squatting movements).
Training with Maximal Intent
It might sound a simple point, but it’s message can be applied to almost any physical capacity. In order to change direction quickly first you must change direction quickly! If your training session isn’t involving maximal intensity changes of direction (ideally both planned – traditional agility drill, and unplanned – match situation) the likelihood of your improving your capabilities in this area is greatly reduced. Using time at the beginning of your football training sessions, or post warm up prior to your gym sessions serve as a great timeframe with which to implement drills to attack with maximal intent.
The ability to translate that strength into game speed is a lot more difficult than simply squatting and deadlifting your way to high loads. Sure, these will help you to push plenty of force into the turf in order to change direction, but the application of this in a small amount of time is a critical factor to being successfully agile. As we have mentioned on many occasions previously, the phosphagen system is what fuels these efforts. Given the nature of a football match, these efforts are consistent over the 90 minutes, therefore, supplements like Creatine can be highly beneficial for athletes looking to increase their explosive capabilities with a research backed source of energy!
It says joint care, it should say body care! Fuelling your efforts across sprinting, strength training, agility work and every other training component is critical if you are to A) get the most out of it, and B) stay fit and injury free to carry on competing. Alongside topping up your creatine levels for your power output, encouraging your joints to stay as mobile as they are strong is extremely important. Collagen (a major component of your connective tissue – think anything from ligaments to tendons!) shots are a great way to enhance your bodies performance and protection capabilities. With a whopping 22 grams of collagen alongside Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate, our Collagen Repair Shots are a sure-fire way to help the structures of your body stay strong, healthy and agile!
Strength, Intent, Power and Joint Health. Just four of the many considerations that need to be addressed in the agility equation. However, master these and you will be well on your way to changing direction in the blink of an eye!