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Background. Despite its well-known importance in sports, agility is ambiguously defined and lack of research. Shuttle Run (SR) challenges physical quickness and is commonly used to improve the on-court agility of badminton players. In contrast, Reactive Initiation Training (RIT) challenges perceptual quickness, merely demanding rapid initiation of step toward the direction of shuttlecock. The current study compared SR with RIT to determine which one is more effective for improving on-court agility of novice badminton players. Methods. 20 novice badminton players were split in half to receive either RIT or SR on court for five days. Before and after training, participants were assessed on their ability to intercept the shuttlecocks randomly thrown by a coach to six corners of the court with and without visual occlusion of the coach. All trials of interception were videotaped by a motion camera for chronological analysis of initiation time, running time and total time. Results. The mean total times were greater with visual occlusion and varied systematically with the position of interception. Both training methods shortened the mean running time, however, only RIT additionally reduced the initiation time and its proportion on those time-consuming positions in the occluded condition. Therefore, RIT is more effective than SR to improve the on-court agility of novice badminton players, and the agility training for novice badminton players should be more perceptually than physically challenging to avoid vain effort and unnecessary injuries.