Posted On Friday, 08th February 2008 at 18:35
Working with some rugby players on their agility I noticed how some of them do artificial movements in the hope that it makes them more agile. What I mean by artificial is a pre programmed series of steps\ head movements \ shoulder shimmies, rather than natural reactions.
Steve Morris pointed this out in my own movements, and I have used his underlying principles in going back to basic movement patterns and then training them. We will then work on putting in unplanned scenarios and small game situations to work on the patterns under pressure.
Today we worked on using skipping as a method of co ordinating hand and foot speed, specifically increasing the hand speed to make the feet move quicker. We then did some simple evading another person at walking speed with an acceleration to get past them. We then added the hand\ shoulder speed of movement to make the feet go faster. The key point here was doing it with the hands in a ready position, and using the internal plyometric action of the shoulder joint to help generate foot speed. That way the players get used to keeping their hands up ready for catching\ passing \tackling.
The next thing was using head movement to generate change of directions- watch a baby crawl or move- the head always leads the body, not the other way round. As the players started to combine the head and fast hand actions, they started to lean forward into a better position to make a tackle, or to break a tackle.
These are natural movement patterns. the key is to enhance them, not to run the players through a series of non specific drills that don't address these issues. By the end of the session all the players had some idea of what to do. The key is now to make this a little and often practice, not leave it for months and get it trained out of them.