Agility is the ability to move your body quickly and easily by maintaining balance and body control while adapting to a situation. This is a very important part of ski racing as we are constantly having to adapt to terrain change, turn shape and snow conditions while staying in a balanced yet aggressive position. Being agile is a key part of not only being a good ski racer but a good athlete in general.
There are three main components that are tested during agility training: balance, coordination and speed.
Balance is the ability to maintain the bodies centre of mass over its base of support. While doing agility, proper balance is needed to allow us to see clearly while moving, identify orientation with respect to gravity, determine direction and speed of movement, and make automatic postural adjustments to maintain our stability in various situations and conditions.
The adjustment of our bodies reaction towards any stimulus. Having good coordination is key to enable all organs to function as a unit to detect stimuli and respond towards them, thus enabling us to adapt with ease to a changing environment . See fitness tip #5 by Jordan for full explanation.
Rapidity of movement or action. Speed is the toughest part or agility because the faster you try to go the more stress you are putting on your balance and coordination. Start off slow focusing on the proper movements. As you progress try to go faster and faster, while still maintaining accuracy in movement.
Here are a few of my favourite exercises for agility training.
T Drill: Set out four cones as illustrated in the diagram below (5 yards and 10 yards) . The subject starts at cone A. On the command of the timer, the subject sprints to cone B and touches the base of the cone with their right hand. They then move left and shuffle sideways to cone C, also touching its base, this time with their left hand. Then shuffling sideways to the right to cone D and touching the base with the right hand. They then shuffle back to cone B touching with the left hand, and run backwards to cone A. The stopwatch is stopped as they pass cone A
Ladder drills: Pick 4 to 6 drills and run them through as a set, do 3 to 4 sets. Here is a little video to give you some ideas. Again, focus on proper movement before increasing speed.
Stan Rey grew up racing out of Whistler ski club. He was on the BC ski team for 2 years, on the ski cross national team for 3 years and is currently a professional freeskier.