Questioning and progressing the current evaluation and training of change of direction and agility

Sophia Nimphius

Sophia will examine the underpinning strength qualities that contribute to the skill of changing direction, while discussing that it is indeed a skill that needs to be evaluated both quantitatively as well as qualitatively. There will be discussions around athlete evaluation and ensuring we continue with a ‘coaching eye’ and don’t get fully blinded by ‘good’ numbers. She will also discuss the current research questioning the validity of current and common measures of change of direction and agility. Examples of exercises that create progressive loading for acceleration, deceleration and changing direction (planned or reactive), drills and activities that promote velocity maintenance (manoeuvrability) versus change of direction and methods of using various drills with constraints or task-based requirements to enhance both performance and capacity to tolerate changes of direction in sport. BIOG: Sophia Nimphius is a sport scientist and strength and conditioning coach with research expertise in biomechanics and sport technology. She is currently the sport science research manager at the Surfing Australia Hurley High Performance Centre and is a senior lecturer in biomechanics and research & computer methods on the MSc course in strength and conditioning at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Sophia has also worked as a sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach in the US and Australia with various national and international teams, including collaborations with professional teams in the NFL, AFL and ARU. Her efforts in ‘bridging the gap’ between theory and application with professional and collegiate teams were recognised by the NSCA (2014 Terry J Housh Young Investigator Award) and Edith Cowan University (Excellence in Research by Early Career Researcher).