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  • Writer's pictureMateo Kovačić

Stop'n'Go: Is this the Most Comprehensive Validated Reactive Agility Test?

New Stop'n'go test was constructed specifically for sports that involve "stop'n'go" movements, such as soccer, basketball, handball, and tennis. In this guide, we'll show you how to perform the Stop'n'Go test, highlight its benefits, and share some easy tips for tracking athletes' performance.


The Stop'n'Go Reactive Agility Test (SNG-RAT) is one of the most comprehensive validated reactive agility tests. In 2014, it was validated on 66 college-aged athletes, aged 18-24 years, who passed health screening, and were categorized into agility-saturated (AG) and non-agility-saturated sports (NAG) groups. Reliability analyses showed high consistency, with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of 0.81 and 0.86 for men and women, respectively. This underscores the test's robustness and consistency in delivering reliable results. The comparative analysis across different levels of sport-specific training further demonstrates its validity.  To perform the Stop'n'Go Reactive Agility Test (SNG-RAT), the athlete starts at the central point. When an LED light signals a pod, the athlete runs to the indicated pod, touches it, and returns to the start point. This process is repeated three or five times, ensuring the athlete waits for the LED signal before starting each run to maintain the reactive component of the test. The test is designed to measure the athlete's reaction time and agility. The best score from the trials is recorded as the final result.


What is The Stop'n'go Reactive Agility Test?


The SNG-RAT (The Stop'n'go Reactive Agility Test) is a evaluation test designed to measure reactive-agility performance in sports characterized by frequent and rapid changes in direction. It was developed by coaches from the University of Split, Croatia (More details below). Unlike traditional agility tests that follow predetermined patterns, the SNG-RAT introduces the element of unpredictability, successfully simulating dynamic real-game scenarios.


How to perform reactive Stop'n'go?


Stop'n'go Reactive Agility Test (SNG-RAT):

x Objective: React to LED lights signaling which cone to run to, touch, and return from.

x Setup: Position the pods as shown in the picture below.


 To perform the Stop'n'Go Reactive Agility Test (SNG-RAT), the athlete starts at the central point. When an LED light signals a pod, the athlete runs to the indicated pod, touches it, and returns to the start point. This process is repeated three or five times, with the athlete ensuring they wait for the LED signal before starting each run to maintain the reactive component of the test. The test is designed to measure the athlete's reaction time and agility. The best score from the trials is recorded as the final result.
Picture 1: Setup for Stop'n'go reactive agility test

x Procedure:


  1. The athlete starts from a split-stance position 0.3 meters behind the starting line A, and accelerates to the maximum.

  2. Upon passing through timing gate (B), the athlete must recognize a visual stimulus on one of the 4 pods (D, E, F, G).

  3. The athlete runs to the indicated pod, touches it, and returns to the start point.

  4. The athlete repeats the process until the conclusion of the test.

  5. The test is conducted in 3 repetitions following an identical protocol with a random order of visual stimuli (5 iterations), and the result is determined as the average value of the repetitions.


x Notes: Ensure that the athlete touches the starting line after each iteration.


Video 1: Demo of how to perform Stop'n'go reactive agility test


Normative data for Stop'n'go RAT


Male athletes (18-24); 5 iterations

Athlete

Athletes involved in agility saturated sports

Athletes not involved in agility saturated sports

Mean (s)

10.41 s

10.96 s


Female athletes (18-24); 5 iterations

Athlete

Athletes involved in agility saturated sports

Athletes not involved in agility saturated sports

Mean (s)

11.49 s

11.84 s

Table 1: Normative data for Stop'n'go reactive agility test (based on: Sekulic et al. 2014)


Validity and reliability of SNG-RAT test


Validation was conducted in 2014, on 66 college-aged athletes, aged 18-24 years, who passed health screening. Participants were categorized into two groups: those involved in agility-saturated sports (AG) and those not involved in agility-saturated sports (NAG). This categorization allowed for a comparative analysis of agility performance across different levels of sport-specific training.


Reliability analyses showed high consistency for the applied tests, with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) of 0.87 and 0.92 for the SNG-CODS, and 0.81 and 0.86 for the SNG-RAT, for both men and women. These figures underline the test's robustness in delivering consistent results.


Comparison: SNG-RAT & SNG-COD


The Stop'n'Go COD (Change of Direction) is a complementary agility test that does not include a reactive component. It is performed similarly to the Stop'n'Go RAT, with the difference that the athlete knows the testing scenario in advance. The athlete starts by running as quickly as possible to cone A (course 1), touches the cone with their preferred hand, and runs back to the start line. They then cross or step on the start line with their preferred leg, turn, and run over courses 2–5, completing the test when they cross the starting point at the end of course 5. The test is repeated three times, and the best score from the trials is retained as the final result.


Interestingly, research showed the SNG-RAT (with reactive feature) and SNG-CODS (without the reactive component) shared less than 40% of the common variance, highlighting that while related, these tests measure different aspects of agility. This distinction is crucial for coaches and athletes aiming to improve agility in training.


Findings also proved that in men, the AG group performed significantly better in the SNG-RAT but not in the SNG-CODS, indicating that reactive agility is more developed in athletes involved in agility-saturated sports. In women, there were no significant differences between AG and NAG in either test. The validity for women improved when the test was shortened, suggesting that test modifications may be necessary to account for gender differences.


SNG-RAT and SNG-CODS shared less than 40% of the common variance, highlighting that while related, these tests measure different aspects of agility.


Differences between male and female athletes


One of the findings of the study was that for men, the longer version of the SNG-RAT, which includes five unpredictable changes of direction proved to be the most valid. In contrast, the shorter version, with three unpredictable changes, was more effective for women, better differencing more agile from less agile athletes.


Five time repetition proved to be most valid for men, while shorter (three repetition) version proved valid for women.

Practical Use for Athletes and Coaches


1. Combine SNG-RAT & SNG-COD for a complete agility testing


Combining the Stop-and-Go Reactive Agility Test (SNG-RAT) and the Stop-and-Go Change of Direction Speed Test (SNG-CODS) offers a thorough Stop-and-Go agility assessment. By calculating the ratio of SNG-CODS to SNG-RAT, S&C coach can monitor velocity, perception, and reaction times. This information helps create better training programs.


2. Include reactive agility drills for better performance


Athletes in agility-heavy sports perform better in SNG-RATa. Adding conditioning games and unplanned/reactive agility drills can improve reactive agility and decision-making. This leads to better performance in real sports scenarios.


3. Compare your athletes to the normative standard


Normative data for the Stop'n'Go Reactive Agility Test (RAT) show that male athletes aged 18-24 involved in agility-saturated sports have a mean time of 10.41 seconds over five iterations, while those not involved in such sports have a mean time of 10.96 seconds. For female athletes aged 18-24, those involved in agility-saturated sports have a mean time of 11.49 seconds, compared to 11.84 seconds for those not involved. These results are based on data from Sekulic et al., 2014. The findings highlight the impact of sport-specific agility training on performance in the Stop'n'Go RAT.


How to perform Stop'n'go RAT test manually?


To manually perform Stop'n'Go drill, the coach must observe the athlete, ready to call out random colors of cones placed around the starting point. The athlete waits for the coach's signal, then runs to the indicated color, touches the cone, and returns to the start. This process is repeated three or five times, with the coach recording the time using a stopwatch. However, manual execution is challenging because the coach must ensure timely and random color calls, and the stopwatch use may not provide precise timing. Using technology like Sportreact offers automated timing and stimuli, improving accuracy and consistency in Stop'n'go test.


How to perform Stop'n'go with Sportreact?


Testing Stop'n'Go is more efficient with Sportreact, as it automates various signs, ensures that the test is always standardised, and automatically tracks and saves performance data in the app. The setup is quick and easy with built-in test & drill templates stored in the app. You can see more in the video, or in the steps below.



Video 2: How to perform Stop'n'go reactive agility drill with Sportreact device?



Testing Stop'n'Go is more efficient with Sportreact, as it automates various signs, ensures its standardization and automatically tracks and saves performance data in the app. The setup is quick and easy with built-in test & drill templates stored in the Sportreact app.


How to test Stop'n'go with Sportreact?


  1. Set-up the pods (as in the photo)

  2. Choose the drill in the app

  3. Pick athlete profiles

  4. Press "Start"

  5. Track performance data in real time

  6. Save the data & compare it with previous drills

  7. Export the data for analytics and research purposes







*Authors of the Stop'n'Go Reactive Agility Test include Damir Sekulic, Ante Krolo, Miodrag Spasic, Ognjen Uljevic, and Mia Peric, affiliated with the Faculty of Kinesiology and the University Department of Health Care Studies at the University of Split, Croatia.


References

Sekulic, D., Krolo, A., Spasic, M., Uljevic, O., Peric, M., The Development of a New Stop'n’go Reactive-Agility Test. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 28(11):p 3306-3312, November 2014. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000515


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