0.25 seconds = 6 feet.
It’s well known that developing the speed to accelerate and break away from the pack in a game can make a huge difference in winning or losing. So if we look at the equation above, while it’s some odd math, what it is saying is that the ability to run two-tenths of a second faster in the 40 yard dash can mean up to 6 feet of separation in sports1. Six feet is a significant distance for a basketball player on a fast break or a running back breaking away from a defense.
Speed is the ability to get from point A to point B fast. When we think about increasing speed, sticking to the fundamentals will produce the greatest results speed to help you standout from the crowd.
When it comes to preparing for an upcoming season, athletes should be sprinting in some form or fashion 3-4 days per week. We break this down into a couple categories.
A. Posture Holds/ Wall Drills-
Teaching posture is critical in terms of sprinting. Torso positioning, Knee Drive and Arm Action are all important to creating a faster athlete. We break this down in a supported position to start in order to create patterns that will be practiced.
B. Resisted Sprinting/ Weighted Sled Work
Accentuating the point of posture and position, now we add weight in order to help create maximal knee drive and force development. Resisted sprinting allows the athlete to add minimal weight (~10% of bodyweight) but create more drive in a sprinting pattern. Heavy Sled work, pushing or pulling a Sled, allows athletes to work on maximal force development, while still in a pattern that supports an acceleration posture.
An athlete just plainly needs to get into the postures of running in order to develop patterns that are engrained and engaged when needed in a game. We utilize both linear and lateral movements to provide the athlete with the ability to move in multiple directions. Sprinting in this instance is less about doing work to increase cardiovascular ability, but more so about developing max speed.
2. Build Strength
Increasing strength is the primary way to the speed development of an athlete. If you think about a race car, all of the aerodynamic details of the car would be similar to technique work for sprinting. It is important that the car doesn’t create extra drag and is engineered to the highest level, but if the motor doesn’t have enough horsepower, it won’t matter! To get faster, you must get stronger! We spend a significant amount of time helping our athletes develop overall strength to help them maximize their speed.
A. Hip/Glute Development
Deadlifting, Hip Thrusters, Single Leg Deadlifts
Trapbar Deadlifts can provide a hybrid of a traditional deadlift, while also emphasizing quad development in one exercise. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SfI7LnZSsc]
B. Quad Development
Squatting, Lunging, Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats
The Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt86KIKpbE4] is one of our favorite quad development tools! It is requires a stability and balance and strength, all while reducing the likelihood of injury that a barbell back squat could provide.
Anti-Extension, Anti-Rotation, Anti-Flexion training
In order to develop maximal speed and acceleration, strength improvement is critical, while also learning the technique necessary to create habitual patterns. To standout from the pack, it is important to develop as an athlete overall, rather than just in a sport specific way. If you want your student athlete to standout, get a plan to work on these critical elements!
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1 Acceleration training study results. Based off collegiate players who completed an 8 week, 24 session training program.