In many sports, the ability to change direction quickly is integral to both individual and team success. Being able to shift one’s weight while moving at a high speed in order to alter the direction of movement can help an individual move past an opponent, increasing the changes of scoring or making an important play. This skill of agility can be improved through a variety of interventions to improve motor recruitment of muscle fibers. Some training plans include sport-specific training via practice and games while others increase agility through specific drills using tools such as hurdles, cones and speed ladders.3 In this case, I utilized a speed ladder, cones and hurdles to improve my motor recruitment patterns, allowing me to change direction more quickly to improve my performance as part of an intramural basketball team.
Much of the task to stop a running motion stems from the capability to quickly extend the knee of one leg, using that limb to decelerate the body and act as a stable point off of which an athlete can accelerate in another direction. This action requires activation of the quadriceps muscle group to extend the leg when contacting the ground. Therefore, an increase in quadriceps strength via motor recruitment of Type II muscle fibers should be reflected in a person’s increased ability to change direction.
Another component of agility is dynamic stability, the ability to keep one’s balance while moving and changing direction at high speeds. Being able to keep a stable center of gravity should allow an athlete to keep their limbs moving in a coordinated fashion to reduce lapses in balance. Reducing movement disruptions while changing directions should decrease the amount of time needed to perform a mo...
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...eek intervention, I improved my performance in both the T-Test and timed knee extension, displaying increases in both agility and muscle strength. Therefore, it is likely that the utilization of speed, agility and quickness drills stimulated greater recruitment of motor units in my quadriceps muscle group, which was the overall goal of this intervention. By performing the drills at a high intensity and producing more force with each step, I forced my muscles to produce more strength, requiring the use of additional Type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers. With increased motor unit recruitment, I was able to change direction quickly during basketball games. This improvement allowed me to move more effectively, helping me stay with my opponents on defense and break free to an open position while on offense, helping myself and my team achieve intramural basketball success.
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