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The Development of a New Test of Agility for Rugby League

Serpell, Benjamin G1; Ford, Matthew2; Young, Warren B1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 12 - pp 3270-3277
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b60430
Original Research

Serpell, BG, Ford, M, and Young, WB. The development of a new test of agility for rugby league. J Strength Cond Res 24(12): 3270-3277, 2010-Agility requires change of direction speed (CODS) and also perceptual and decision-making skills and reaction speed. The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid agility test for rugby league, which stressed all those dimensions. Players from a subelite rugby league team were tested twice on a sport-specific reactive agility test (RAT) and CODS test. Data were analyzed for reliability. For validity results from the subelite groups, first test was compared with data from an elite group. The RAT required participants to run toward an unpredictable life-size video of an attacking opponent and react to that video by changing direction. The CODS test required the same movement patterns however direction changes were preplanned. The subelite group's mean time to complete the CODS test and RAT on their first test was 1.67 ± 0.15 and 1.98 ± 0.16 seconds, respectively, and 1.62 ± 0.14 and 1.91 ± 0.17 seconds, respectively, on their second test (results are ± σ). Statistical analyses revealed no significant difference in means (p < 0.05) and good correlation (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.87 and 0.82, respectively). The elite group's mean time to complete the tests was 1.65 ± 0.09 and 1.79 ±0.12 seconds, respectively. Statistical analyses revealed a significant difference in mean RAT time between the elite group and the subelite group (p < 0.05). The RAT was reliable and valid. Performance differences on the RAT were attributed to differences in perceptual skills and/or reaction ability. Testing and training agility should therefore stress those dimensions of agility and not just CODS.

1School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia; and 2Canberra Raiders Rugby League Club, ACT, Australia

Address correspondence to Ben Serpell, ben.serpell@gmail.com.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association