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Reaction Time & Reaction Speed Drills
To improve your sports performance, incorporation some reaction speed drills into your program will be highly beneficial.
The purpose of reaction speed drills will be to decrease the response time that is demonstrated after a particular stimulus is presented. Since many sports are highly dependant on quick thinking and bodily movements, having this body-mind connection is going to be what separates the good players from the great players. The more complex the situation you are in, the more the brain will have to process and usually the slower the response will be. With practice on reaction speed drills however, you can decrease this and get your brain working faster in conjunction with your muscles.
The main components that make up your performance time will be detecting the cue, detecting any other cues that may affect the primary cue, making a decision, changing your attention of focus, controlling your anxiety levels and then creating the appropriate level of motivation and force output.
One exercise that you can work on regularly to help improve your time is to first lie on the ground so you are in a comfortable position. Then, have someone make a voice or sound command and upon hearing it, get up and sprint for 20 to 30 metres as fast as you can. As you practice this exercise, slowly your time should begin to decrease.
Note that this is more of a non-sport specific type of exercise and that you should try and also include a few exercises that are more sport specific in nature - ones that will have you performing similar actions that you would do while participate in your chosen activity. This will help the transfer over of skills to be slightly higher so you can be sure your training will be very effective.
Also be aware that there are a variety of factors that can affect response time such as what stage of learning the skill you are in, what your psychological state is like, your level of fitness, your level of fatigue, the amount of experience you have and how high your anticipation levels are.
So be sure if you want to maximize your performance levels, you include this aspect of fitness in your training.