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Reactive Ability: Can it Be Trained?

An athlete must possess certain qualities and skills to be successful. These qualities and skills are highly trainable, and this is why sports performance training is the way to spend your offseason.

Some athletic qualities include, sprinting, jumping, absorbing forces, producing forces in a short amount of time, and reactiveness.

Some athletic skills include eye-hand coordination, multi-object tracking, and sequencing/timing of movements.

Athletes must be able to REACT in their environment in order to succeed. This time of year, we are getting very reactive with our programming.

Let’s take a speed drill for example. Rather than just focusing on close-loop drills (specific endpoint) to enhance pure speed, we will be shifting towards more open-loop drills (non-specific endpoint) where the athlete must react.

We will give either a visual or an audible cue that will force the athlete to react. So far, however, I’ve seen many athletes who love to anticipate what will happen next, rather than react.

If you anticipate in competition, sometimes you will be lucky, but most of the time you will get burned. Athletes are far more successful when they react to a stimulus rather than anticipate what the stimulus will be.

The most important variable to consider is the way our eyes behave in competition. Our body follows our eyes, and our sensory input (what we see/feel) dictates motor output (how we move/react).

Here are some ways we include reactiveness into our programming this time of year.

Speed Drills