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What does it mean to be quick?

Paul Winsper
Sports Medicine

Quickness is an individual's ability to execute movement skill in a comparatively brief amount of time. In most cases of improved quickness, there is a decrease in reaction time which can be directly related to improved performance in one, or a combination, of all the following areas: perception (capturing external stimuli through our senses), identification (evaluation of the scenario), formulation (choosing the appropriate response in our mind), and initiation (acting out that response). While many athletes may possess a high level of performance for other variables such as speed, power, agility, and other game skills, the athlete who can apply these appropriate skills at the right time at the highest rate (quickness) will be the most successful.

Quickness is the ability to react as quickly as possible to an external visual or auditory cue, otherwise known as reaction time.  The more quickly a person can react to something they see and or hear the quicker that person is. Some sports rely heavily upon reaction time for success and athletes at the elite level have very fast reaction times, some sports include tennis, baseball, boxing, mixed martial arts, hockey goalies, and volleyball players. Reaction time is largely genetic can be developed with practice and training. If you want to improve your quickness consult a qualified sports performance coach who can show you techniques to work on reaction time.

Quickness is based on timing. The ability for an athlete to call upon his or her given talent at the right time, and at the right amount will determine the success they achieve.  Therefore quickness is based upon reaction time. Performance training that is built upon plan predictable movement patterns alone is not enough. Training programs that will enhance quickness will need to integrate unpredictable movement patterns that will challenge the athletes visual and auditory skills.

A skilled coach will be able to apply an element of reaction within training exercises. A simple example is to implement a whistle to cone drills. The athlete must listen to the sound of the whistle to react and change directions as quickly as possible. This authentically will work on an athletes ability to decelerate and accelerate movement in an unplanned environment - much like sport.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.