Reactive agility of rugby league players

J Sci Med Sport. 2009 Jan;12(1):212-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.08.011. Epub 2008 Feb 20.


While studies have investigated change of direction speed in rugby league players, no study has investigated the reactive agility of these athletes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the reactive agility of rugby league players, to determine if this quality discriminated higher and lesser skilled players. Twenty-four elite (mean+/-S.D. age, 24.5+/-4.2 years) and 42 sub-elite (23.6+/-5.3 years) rugby league players completed a game-specific test of reactive agility. Elite players had better response accuracy (93.2+/-1.9% vs. 85.5+/-2.5%; p<0.05, effect size=0.58) and faster decision (89.5+/-5.8ms vs. 111.5+/-6.4ms; p<0.05, effect size=0.62) and movement times (2.35+/-0.03s vs. 2.56+/-0.03s; p<0.05, effect size=1.39) on the reactive agility test than sub-elite players. The reactive agility test was able to distinguish four distinct classifications. Specifically, players were classified as requiring either (1) decision-making and change of direction speed training to further consolidate good physical and perceptual abilities, (2) decision-making training to develop below average perceptual abilities, (3) change of direction speed training to develop below average physical attributes or (4) a combination of decision-making and change of direction speed training to develop below average physical and perceptual abilities. The results of this study demonstrate that a test of reactive agility discriminates higher and lesser skilled rugby league players. In addition, these findings highlight the important contribution of perceptual skill to agility in rugby league players.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Decision Making
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Running / physiology
  • Young Adult