Different coaching methods are often used to improve performance. This study compared the effectiveness of 2 methodologies for speed and agility conditioning for random, intermittent, and dynamic activity sports (e.g., soccer, tennis, hockey, basketball, rugby, and netball) and the necessity for specialized coaching equipment. Two groups were delivered either a programmed method (PC) or a random method (RC) of conditioning with a third group receiving no conditioning (NC). PC participants used the speed, agility, quickness (SAQ) conditioning method, and RC participants played supervised small-sided soccer games. PC was also subdivided into 2 groups where participants either used specialized SAQ equipment or no equipment. A total of 46 (25 males and 21 females) untrained participants received (mean +/- SD) 12.2 +/- 2.1 hours of physical conditioning over 6 weeks between a battery of speed and agility parameter field tests. Two-way analysis of variance results indicated that both conditioning groups showed a significant decrease in body mass and body mass index, although PC achieved significantly greater improvements on acceleration, deceleration, leg power, dynamic balance, and the overall summation of % increases when compared to RC and NC (p <= 0.05). PC in the form of SAQ exercises appears to be a superior method for improving speed and agility parameters; however, this study found that specialized SAQ equipment was not a requirement to observe significant improvements. Further research is required to establish whether these benefits transfer to sport-specific tasks as well as to the underlying mechanisms resulting in improved performance.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association