Monday, March 14, 2011

3 Part Series: Part 2 Agility for 9-13 year olds

The best part about improving agility is the games really don't change that much. By now their fundamental movement skills should be mastered. This is the age when their Peak Height Velocity (PHV) slows down. Now that they're catching up to their body a little bit, it is a great time to work on Fundamental Sport Skills (FSS). Shooting and ball handling for basketball, dribbling and more precise passing for soccer, pitching for baseball, etc. They key for agility is combining these sports skills with the games from before. So here are 3 great ways to improve agility for this age group.

Game #1: Tag games within the sport.
Basketball and soccer are the easiest as you can add dribbling within the games. For other sports, baseball could include pickle or base stealing game, lax could be a keep away type game with tag involved, volleyball has to be creative

Game #2: Playing Small Sided Games.... a lot
This may seem obvious but too many coaches talk way too much about strategy. Small sided games provide players to be far more accountable. For instance playing 3 on 3 basketball vs 5 on 5 gives players far more many opportunities, to play on ball defense, to make moves with the ball, etc. The more repetitions the better. Playing 5 on 5 at this age can be counter productive at times as the good players always get the ball and the bad players stay in the corner.
Within the small games you can also give points that will reinforce better habits, such as every time you face the hoop you get an extra point, play to 50. Some of you might think how does this relate to agility, the more you move and cut, the better your agility will get. At a young age we must put them in situations that give them this opportunity, rather than talking for 20 minutes about how to stay in front. Small sided games give those repetitions naturally.

Game 3: Proper Warm up and Body Weight Strength Drills
Within the warm up, adding skipping, hopping bounding, etc. will help ingrain proper mechanics as well as develop eccentric strength for landing, and elastic power. A fundamental strength should being emphasized with push ups, squats, lunges, pull ups, planks, etc. Building that basic strength is extremely important. If they can't control there bodyweight with these basic exercise it will be very hard to be able to control their body in a proper position. Hammer home exercises that develops strength and power, using their own body. It will only allow them to reach a higher potential when they're older.

The Other Side:
This is freaking nuts and I want to do it!

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