The exporation of relationships that exist between factors that affect agility within a rugby specific population
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The Game of rugby union is a multi-sprint, multidirectional, evasive team game that requires high-speed total body movements often in response to a stimulus. These evasive movements can occur in the form of a side-step, which can therefore be classified as an agility task. Recent research has led to the conclusion that agility is influenced by both change of direction speed (CODS) and cognitive factors, however there is uncertainty in to which factors and their sub-components have the strongest relationships with agility. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationships that exist between agility and its sub-components within a rugby population. In turn this can provide coaches with a better understanding of agility and improve skills such as the side-step. 20 collegiate male rugby players (n = 10 forwards, and n = 10 backs) completed a series of tests including novel planned agility (PA) and reactive agility (RA) tests, a newly designed lateral jump (LJ) test, a Reactive Strength Index (RSI) jump test, and a 10m and 40m maximal straight sprint test. A number of descriptive stats were applied to the raw data including an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Pearson’s Product Correlation Coefficient. The findings were then expressed as a common variance (CV). The findings suggest that CODS and acceleration have the strongest CV with agility (CV’s of 56.4% and 59.1% respectively). RSI and therefore the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) were also found to have some form of relationship with agility, the CV of these variables being consistently around or above 50%. This suggests that improved acceleration and therefore improved agility can come from developing an individual’s reactive strength. It can safely be suggested that in order to improve agility and therefore skills such as the side-step, it would be necessary to develop both CODS and acceleration through training. This in turn provides coaches with clarity and direction into the necessary ways of improving agility.
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