Agility Training For Gaelic Games - Part 2
In part one we discussed the 3 simple moves you probably need to master to get more agile (or at least that's the theory). In this article, we will discuss more advanced modalities and thought processes. Most of my belief systems when it comes to agility training come from the work of EXOS and Dr. Ian Jeffries, I strongly suggest you look their work up as it's extremely pertinent.
Having a system for training agility.
It is extremely difficult to declutter your mind when it comes to training a team, as in, what do you do and when do you do it? I think that's where charts and levels come in very handy. So for example you may hear that strength coaches call something a level 4 exercise, this simply means it's a lot harder than the level 1 exercise but it's in the same family. For example, A high plank drill on your hands might be a level 1 core exercise, an ab wheel rollout (really hard on the core) might be a level 5. It is simply a way of categorising exercises.
I think this way with Agility training as if ask your athletes to do something they aren't able to do, it's a way to cause injury.
Reactive-based agility work, a classic drill called mirror box, this drill has a place but in hindsight, more game-based work like 3v2 or 2v1 drills would have been better for this cohort.
So as you can see in this complicated-looking flow chart, you can split agility training into Drill based agility work, and game-based. You can also dive down into the real basics of movement with your athletes and talk about Linear, Backwards, Sideways, and Rotational movements.
So in other words, this chart at least identifies all the movements you probably should include when training a team. Of course, actually playing the game does tackle all this, but, we are talking about making your players the best movers they can be so it's worth refining and ironing out deficiencies.
The gauntlet is a nice way to get a more reactive game-based agility training done with teams. But even here you can see some players who lack the basics and need to be coached one-to-one in either the cut, shuffle, etc.
So now we have another fancy-looking chart but this really does explain my thought processes. As you can see the horizontal arrow points towards complexity and the vertical arrow points towards specificity. So with a team that has poor development of movement skills, I am probably going to stick with shuffling to cones, backpedals to cones, etc as their supplementary work. With a team that has advanced movement skills, I am going to work on more advanced modalities like 3v2 games and no-arm tackle squares. Again, this is just to guide you as a coach and I of course break these rules from time to time but it's a nice way to think about it. The consensus view regarding agility training seems that the more match-specific and the less drill-based the better it is for the players. So that alone is a nice target.
Agility work of this kind can be useful for return to physio work.
- Look up the work of EXOS and Dr. Ian Jeffries in this field, it's very interesting and readable material.
- Study the chart I have provided and start implementing a system with your team for movements, or at least, think of adding movement coaching to every session.
- Don't be afraid to reinforce the basics over and over again with players, you can always do the same but jazz it up in subtle ways to make it more fun/interesting for your players.