While the importance of strength in kabaddi is evident for all to see, another vital attribute that often goes slightly under the radar is agility. Strength, undeniably, is a must for any individual with kabaddi aspirations, but raw strength without agility translates to mere mass. A contact sport, kabaddi requires players to combine strength, speed and agility to get the better of their opponents on the mat.

Naveen Kumar from Dabang Delhi K.C. is known for his exceptional agility.

The use of strength by a raider to a carry a defender to the midline, or maintain forward momentum when being Dashed, is common knowledge. However, the utilization of one’s agility to evade defenders is sometimes overlooked. Skills like the Dubki, Jump and Turn, which require raiders to be agile and nimble on their feet aren’t acquired overnight and take years of practice and dedication to master. Here are some insights that a few leading raiders in the league had to share in exclusive chats with prokabaddi.com.

“Agility is very important for a raider. Light raiders like Vikash Kandola’s agility shakes up the entire defence unit. It then becomes easier for the raider to score points. Through agility, we can do a lot of things with extreme precision, like Hand Touches, Jumps, etc. Thus, it is very important for a raider to be agile,” said Dabang Delhi K.C.’s leading raider Naveen Kumar while highlighting that the more agile one is, the quicker and more seamlessly they can glide across the mat.

“As raiders, we need to turn fast because there are seven defenders but only one raider. A defender can tackle from the front or behind, so it is important to have the agility to be able to escape from all angles. At times we make quick hand touches too. Agility helps in everything,” added the Dabang Delhi K.C. raiding prodigy.

He also went on to talk about how natural agility can, and indeed should necessarily be worked on, in order to succeed on a big stage like vivo Pro Kabaddi, where things can happen in the blink of an eye.

“I was agile since my childhood. But when I came to vivo Pro Kabaddi I saw that there are trainers who help in a player’s weight training and agility training. These kinds of training helped me a lot,” said the raider before summing up his argument with a personal observation.

“I had a few abilities from the beginning but some were polished by the trainers.”

U.P. Yoddha’s Monu Goyat in action.

U.P. Yoddha’s star raiding duo of Monu Goyat and Rishank Devadiga also echoed Naveen’s thoughts on agility.

“If you have a lot of muscle then your flexibility and agility will be affected. You can’t be weak because it’s a body-contact sport. But, at the same time, you have to make it a point to be very flexible and agile,” said Goyat.

Devadiga also insisted that while there are many attributes that shape a top-quality raider, agility is something that offers players a slight edge.

“A raider can excel if their strength and agility are good. Yes, height does give you somewhat of an advantage as a raider since you cover a greater distance with good height. But speed and agility can give you something extra,” he concluded.