Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 623 - 635

Research article
Reliability, Validity and Usefulness of a New Response Time Test for Agility-Based Sports: A Simple vs. Complex Motor Task
Haris Pojskic1,2, , Jeffrey Pagaduan3, Edin Uzicanin4, Vlatko Separovic4, Miodrag Spasic5, Nikola Foretic5, Damir Sekulic5
Author Information
1 Department of Sports Science, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
2 The Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden
3 College of Health and Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Tasmania - Newnham, Tasmania, Australia
4 Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Haris Pojskic
✉ Department of Sports Science, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden
Publish Date
Received: 30-05-2019
Accepted: 24-07-2019
Published (online): 19-11-2019
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The importance of response time (RT) in sports is well known, but there is an evident lack of reliable and valid sport-specific measurement tools applicable in the evaluation of RT in trained athletes. This study aimed to identify the validity, reliability, and usefulness of four newly developed RT testing protocols among athletes from agility-saturated (AG) and non-agility-saturated (NAG) sports. Thirty-seven AG and ten NAG athletes (age: 20.9 ± 2.9; eleven females) volunteered to undergo: three randomized simple response time (SRT-1, SRT-2, and SRT-3) protocols that included a single limb movement, and one complex response time (CRT) protocol that included multi joint movements and whole body transition over a short distance (1.5 and 1.8m). Each RT test involved 3 trials with 5 randomized attempts per trial. Two sensors were placed at the left- and right-hand side for SRT-1 and SRT-2. Three sensors were positioned (left, middle, right) in SRT-3 and CRT. The intra-class-correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated as a measure of reliability. Independent sample t-test, effect size (d), and area-under-the-curve (AUC) were calculated to define discriminative validity of the tests. The results showed the newly developed tests were more reliable and useful in the AG than NAG athletes (i.e., ICC between 0.68 and 0.97 versus 0.31-0.90, respectively). The RT of AG athletes was faster than that of NAG athletes in the CRT test from the left (p <0.01, d = 2.40, AUC: 0.98), centre (p < 0.01, d = 1.57, AUC: 0.89), and right sensor (p < 0.01, d = 1.93, AUC: 0.89) locations. In contrast, there were no differences between the groups in the SRT tests. The weak correlation (i.e., r= 0.00-0.33) between the SRT and CRT tests suggests that response time of the single limb and multijoint limb movements should not be considered as a single motor capacity. In conclusion, this study showed that AG athletes had faster response time than their NAG peers during complex motor tasks. Such enhanced ability to rapidly and accurately reprogram complex motor tasks can be considered one of the essential qualities required for advanced performance in agility-based sports.

Key words: reaction time, reactive agility, neuromotor memory, perception, reach and touch

           Key Points
  • The newly developed response time tests showed to be reliable, valid and useful testing tools for athletes involved in fast-action sports
  • The very weak correlation obtained between the simple response tests and the complex response test indicated that the test measures independent neuromotor qualities
  • The agility athletes had advanced ability to rapidly program and execute complex motor tasks which can be considered one of the essential qualities required for advanced performance in agility-based sports.
  • Development of rapid response time in complex motor tasks is mostly dependent on the training of neuromotor coordination (i.e., specific motor proficiency).
  • Training of athletes involved in agility-sports should be focused on proper learning of various sport-related motor programs that once learned can be rapidly retrieved from neuromotor memory and formatted as an efficient motor response.
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