Warren Young and Nathan Rogers from Australia investigated the effect of two different training methods on planned and reactive agility tests. Although the data are on Australian rules players, I think they apply also to football (soccer).
What they did?
- 25 U18 players were randomly assigned to 2 training groups i) the change of direction group, ii) the small-sided game group.
- Players performed 11 sessions, of 15 min each, in 7 weeks.
- A planned-AFL agility test and a video-based reactive agility test were performed before and after intervention.
- The small-sided games group improved total time in the reactive agility test and this was entirely due to a very large reduction in decision time.
- Small-sided games produced a trivial change in movement response time as well as in the planned-AFL agility test.
- The change-of-direction training produced small to trivial changes in all of the test variables.
- Small-sided games seems to improve agility and this may be due to better speed of decision-making.
- The specific change of direction training was not effective in improving either agility or reactive agility, at least in this group of players.
Young W and Rogers N. Effects of small-sided game and change-of-direction training on reactive agility and change-of-direction speed. Journal of Sports Sciences [Epub ahead of print 9 September 2013]