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First Attempt at the Serpentine Agility Test

fitness testing Jul 07, 2011

Last week I put myself and a few Central PA summer league friends through the serpentine agility test.

The test was easy to set up and easy to run. It's an ideal pre-summer league test. Players get warmed up for their game, the test doesn't take long, and players get to encourage each other as they run the course.


Here Timbo explains what it is and how to set it up:


Our average male (out of 5) ran the course in 10.0s

Our fastest guy was 9.45s

We only had two women run the test and our average was 11.2s

My time was 11.1s



1. I knew almost all of these players and have seen them all on the field. Who I thought would be the quickest or slowest didn't necessarily come out that way.

2. I am slower than I thought I'd be.  I shouldn't have been surprised.   I historically don't do well on agility tests. So of course I like to blame it on the test (t-test? pfft! who cares? that's not at all like cutting!) but the serpentine represents ultimate movement fairly accurately.


So what to the results mean?

On field agility involves the physical ability to change direction. It also involves mental abilities: reading the field, knowing when to change direction, reacting to a defender, or deceiving a defender. This last one, deceiving the defender, takes more time than simply changing direction quickly. You have to shift more weight to look like you want to go one direction and recover from that weight shift to go the opposite way. If you watch someone running the serpentine, you realize no defender will be faked out by which way the runner is going. They may or may not keep up, but they won't be surprised.

On field agility is one of my strengths as a player which is why I've always written off the restuls of my agility tests.

Oddly enough, for the past year I've been under the assumption that I'm not very smart in my defense and my cutting. One of my teammates last season told me "you're fast but you don't know what to do with it." Still probably true in some circumstances. But it's more accurate to say that I'm slow but have good instincts. Clearly I have either the physical or mental component of agility. It is becoming more and more obvious that the physical component is not the one I have.


Good news or bad news? Do you think it's easier to improve the physical or the mental component of agility?


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