Many researchers have studied the various types of physical fitness training such as balance training, agility training, sprinting training, resistant training, circuit training, interval training, and plyometric training. These physical training serves to improve on various physical attributes in sports such as flexibility, functional performance, muscular control, muscular power, distance running performance, running economy, strength performance, explosive power, vertical jump, initial acceleration, speed, agility, and other physical attributes.
In sport, plyometrics is a type of exercise used in training and is designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. When it is used in a periodized manner, it contributes to athletes in various sports to increase strength, explosiveness (Chu, 1998), and agility.
Movement in agility training is similar to the drills in plyometric training. Plyometric drills usually involve stopping, starting, and changing direction of movements in an explosive manner. These movements are components that can contribute to develop agility. Agility and explosive power are mostly developed by these training activities.
Badminton is a highly competitive dynamic sport. At elite level, it has been suggested that badminton is characterized by repetitive efforts of alactic nature and great intensity which are continuously performed throughout the match. In competitive match, badminton players are often required to perform speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, and strength capabilities at their limit.
Competitive badminton match involves sudden sprint and stop, deep lunges, jumping and changing direction of movements in an explosive manner. These are the actions that happen in plyometric training. Without the ability to react and move quickly in the court, combining deep lunges, sudden quick sprints and stops, as well as the explosive jumping movement, a badminton player will not perform optimally. Plyometric training programme has been proven to improve on these attributes.
Statement of Problem
This study focuses on the development of agility through plyometric training on college co-curriculum badminton players. Many researchers found that the plyometric training is effective in developing agility. They also found that plyometrics not only can break the monotony of training, but helps to improve strength and power.
Agility is an important attribute in racket game. Badminton is an explosive racket sport based on fast movements. It is indicated that at competition level, badminton is high in frequency and intensity of play throughout a match. There are many changes in direction in a badminton match and it requires the athlete to be very agile in all directions.
Apparently, there is no study done on agility in badminton. Agility is an important component of many sports but it has not been extensively researched. Although plyometric training has been shown to increase performance variables such as flexibility, running performance, strength performance, explosive power, vertical jump, initial acceleration, speed and other physical fitness component, little scientific information is available to determine that plyometric training actually lead to benefits of agility in badminton. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of plyometric training on the agility of badminton players.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the 6-weeks plyometrics training programme on the agility of college co-curriculum badminton players.
Based on the statement of problem and the purpose of this study, the study focuses on the hypotheses which are expressed in the null form:
H1 There will be no significant difference in the agility pre test mean scores using Shuttle Test between experimental group and control group.
H2 There will be no significant difference in the agility pre test mean scores using Illinois Agility Test between experimental group and control group.
H3 There will be no significant difference between agility pre test and post test mean scores using Shuttle Test for experimental group and control group.
H4 There will be no significant difference between agility pre test and post test mean scores using Illinois Agility Test for experimental group and control group.
H5 There will be no significant difference in the agility post test mean scores using Shuttle Test between experimental group and control group.
H6 There will be no significant difference in the agility post test mean scores using Illinois Agility Test between experimental group and control group.
Significance of the study
Apparently, not many research in sports shows that plyometric training actually improves agility performance. In fact, coaches and exercise instructors are more exposed in the effect of plyometric training on vertical jump height, leg strength, leg power, and other elements asides agility. As a result, plyometric training was rarely applied in sports training programme to improve agility.
There is a need to increase our understanding of how plyometrics training can help to improve agility. From the research findings of this study, National Sports Council (NSC), Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and other national sports associations will be able to apply it to train athletes.
The finding of this study could be used by curriculum developer, coaches, and administrators to improve coaching courses curriculum and training programme.
The findings of the study provide coaches more variety and options for their training. The plyometric training will provide variety in the training and help reduce boredom in physical training.
The findings also will benefit athletes especially badminton players. The findings will provide confidence to badminton players in different performance level that plyometric training is effective in improving agility.
The following delimitations were placed on this study:
This study was delimited to subjects of co-curriculum badminton players of Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Kuala Lumpur, from the academic year of 2010/2011 Semester 2 (October to December).
Subjects involved were from Wednesday morning session and Thursday morning session.
The study was delimited to a 6-weeks plyometric training program.
The study was delimited to a training period of six weeks, with one training session per week.
Agility is measured by the Illinois Agility Test (Cureton, 1951) and Shuttle Test (French and Stalter, 1949).
Definition of Terms
To avoid different interpretations, terms in this study was defined operationally.
Plyometrics training aa‚¬” It is a high intensity training programme designed to produce fast, powerful movements to improve power in a specific sport. Plyometric exercises are designed to build power and speed, increase co-ordination and agility which results in improving sports performance. It is one of the most effective ways to develop sport-specific power and helps to increase functions of the nervous system. Operationally it is the 6-weeks training programme adopted from Miller et al. (2006).
Agility aa‚¬” Agility is commonly defined as an effective and quick coupling of braking, changing directions and accelerating again while maintaining motor control in either a vertical or horizontal direction (Plisk, 2000, Verstegen & Marcello, 2001). Agility permits an athlete to react to a stimulus, start quickly and efficiently, move in the correct direction, and to change direction or stop quickly to make a play in fast, smooth, efficient, and repeatable manner. Operationally it is the performance of college co-curriculum badminton players in the Illinois Agility Test and Shuttle Test.
College co-curriculum badminton players aa‚¬” It is the college students who enrolled in the compulsory co-curriculum programme. Operationally it is the Tunku Abdul Rahman College Kuala Lumpur main campus students who enrolled in the badminton co-curriculum program (ASCG1132 Badminton) in the academic year of 2010/2011 Semester 2 (October to December).
Sports Science courses aa‚¬” It is the sports science courses under the purview of the National Sports Council. The curriculum of the sports science courses is prepared by the Malaysia Coaching Board for National Coaching Licensing Scheme. Operationally it is the Sports Science for Coaching level 1, 2, and 3.