Every athlete, whether they are just learning to play a specific sport or are already a veteran of the team, knows that implementing specific sports training exercises into their workouts is very important for increasing athletic performance. These specialized drills and exercises are helpful for improving speed, power, agility, balance, stamina and endurance. They also strengthen the muscles enabling the athlete to be ready for competition while guarding against potential injuries.
For normal people who are trying to get in shape, a few push-ups, sit-ups, weight lifting workouts, or maybe even a walk or a light jog a few times a week is usually good enough. However, an athlete needs much more specialized training using the right sports specific exercises and workouts to excel in the sport they partake in.
The term agility means to be nimble and to be able to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration. Agility is the ability to change one position quickly using a combination of balance, coordination, speed and strength. It is a rapid whole body movement to change velocity or direction in response to a stimulus. Athletes need to be very agile to be on top of their game because many sports require extreme agility.
There are various sports training drills and exercises. A great one to incorporate into your sports training workout is the star drill. This involves setting up a total of 5 cones, with 4 cones in a square pattern and 1 cone in the middle. The distance between each cone is about 10 yards. To reduce the amount of running, the distance between the cones can be decreased down to 5 yards but 10 yards is usually a good place to start. There will be 4 cones on the outside corners making up the square pattern with 1 cone in the middle creating the “star” pattern. The athlete will gain maximum benefits from this drill by sprinting at 100% intensity to each cone as quickly as possible.
Start with the middle cone and sprint directly to the center of the square. While approaching the center, lower your hips and plant the right foot on the ground while cutting back quickly to cone 2 which is towards the left side of the square. Push off the right foot while opening the bottom and side step or “shuffle” over to cone 2. Then return to cone 1 and dash to the center again, placing the right foot and then returning and sprinting straight to cone 3. You can also backpedal to every other cone for increased agility. Always try to mix it up between a full sprint, side shuffle and backpedal.
The star drill requires the athlete to change directions from forward to backward to sideways very quickly making it a great exercise for developing peak agility. Even if an athlete is in good shape and exercises regularly, there is no substitute for implementing a well structured sports regimen and that includes specialized drills and training exercises. This is the best way to fully prepare the athlete for the sporting event they will be competing in along with helping to condition their body to avoid injuries.