Agility is the ability to quickly and effectively change direction in response to a stimulus. Agility involves an explosive start, acceleration, change direction and reaccelerating while maintaining body control and minimising loss of speed (Joyce and Lewindon, 2014). As rugby is a game of invasion and evasion, agility is a very important factor to include in a training programme. Evasive agility manoeuvres have been shown to lead to 72% of successful tackle breaks in rugby union (Engelbrecht et al, 2016) Agility is thought of as a physical concept but it involves a lot of cognitive processing to react to a given stimulus. As a result, a multifaceted approach to training agility is required.

Often when agility is trained it is trained with drills that have a planned change of direction. While these drills are useful they do not address all the determinants of agility and are not overly sports-specific, as planned change of direction occurs very rarely in a game situation (Holmburg, 2009). A rapid change of direction in response to a stimulus also needs to be considered when training agility. Therefore, to train agility it is thought that the drills used should include both planned and unplanned changes of direction to challenge the player both physically and mentally with decision making at speed. Training methods covered in this module include:

  • Technique training
  • Planned change of direction training

Reactive agility or agility in response to a stimulus is discussed in detail in the Conditioning for Adults online learning module.