Reactive Agility Training for Teenagers

Speed and Strength are often the measures of athleticism cited by coaches for athletic success.

Yet if you take two high school athletes of approximately the same strength and speed, why does one consistently freeze their opponent and gain those few feet of separation that lead to touchdowns, receptions, baskets, and goals and the other get tackled or blocked?

speed_and_agility[1]The answer is reactive agility. Most speed training gives athletes step-by-step drills to execute to become faster and more agile. But to prevail in the game, you need to make split-second decisions. Training that develops the ability to react to a stimulus quickly and efficiently, at high speed, is called reactive agility.


In athletics, the ability to decelerate, stop, change direction, and accelerate instantaneously is paramount to success. The ability to abruptly stop and change direction is collectively referred to as agility. Agile athlete are typically the ones you see on Sports Center every morning. So what is the secret behind the success of these athletes? It can be argued that outside of sport-specific skill, speed is the most important athletic performance factor. I agree that speed is very important. But rarely, if ever, do most athletes reach top speed during a game.


Rarely is an athlete presented with an opportunity to sprint in a straight line for any extended period of time. In most game situations the athlete will be starting, stopping and moving in lateral directions constantly so speed is only a piece of the puzzle. Agility is another piece. The best athletes accelerate quickly, are agile, and can read and react to their surroundings. Before athletes can react quickly, certain movements need to become second nature. Learning to change direction, when to use an inside foot cut, and how to drop step are all important. Once an athlete has got the movement down, he or she can work on executing it at a progressively faster pace



You can definitely improve speed. You can definitely teach athletes to change direction quickly, and effectively. You can definitely teach athletes to keep their heads up. If you can combine all these things into one drill, you get reactive agility training. This is the best training to teach athletes to read and react to the movement of another athlete. At Mpower we use reactive agility training and speed training to help athletes develop that extra step or lateral movement that will lead to success on the field or court.

Mpower blog by Mike Baker