Speed is one of the single most important elements of sport.
Honestly, have you ever watched a game or match where an athlete was CLEARLY faster than their opponent?
It often looks unfair. A basketball player that blows by a defender off the dribble, a wide receiver blowing by a cornerback for a touchdown, a midfielder flying past the defense for a goal.
For too long, speed has been thought to only be for those fortunate ones that were BORN with the talent of being fast. Speed though, is a skill that can be taught and developed, like almost anything else.
“Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers.” – Magic Johnson
For field and court sport athletes, speed is essential.
But, speed is not just one direction.
It is multidirectional.
Forwards. Backwards. Side to Side.
It requires athletes to not only accelerate quickly, but decelerate, change direction and then reaccelerate.
Fortunately, speed can be developed and improved.
There are many elements of speed, but here are 3 Keys to Improving Speed.
- Body Posture
- Leg Action
- Arm Action
In order to move quickly, athletes need to be able to control their body. That is why core training is essential to speed development.
If an athlete doesn’t have the strength to control their core, they will have to spend a significant amount of time making corrections for the errors caused by their lack of stability.
Fortunately, this can be learned and developed. It requires a series of static and dynamic work that will allow athletes the ability to control their posture in different positions and changing environments.
There are multiple pieces to leg action.
First, is the actual action of the leg during movement. Gait cycles, stride length, stride frequency and more play into how well athletes move. This is where we can make significant improvements quickly though learning the technical aspect of moving.
Next, there is the strength required to create more force. If you want to get faster, you need to work on both the technical end as well as getting stronger to be able to push the ground away. In order to get faster, you need to be able to produce more FORCE. in order to produce force, you have to have the strength to push the ground away and not “mush” into the floor with every step. Strength is a MUST for speed!
Third, is the ability to move in multiple directions. Outside of track, sports require that athletes be able to move forwards, backwards and side to side. In addition to that, they have to be able to walk, run, shuffle, sprint in one direction and then stop and reaccelerate in another direction. This is a skill set that can be learned, through a progressive series of rehearsed and reactive scenarios and a significant amount of practice in order to master.
On the field or court, our arms are used to assist us in making plays, while also helping us to get into the proper positions to be able to maximize our speed. Arm action (how the arms move to put us in the correct position to sprint) is responsible for around 10% of our speed, so even though they are a small part, being able to control their movement can be the difference between winning and losing.
Since we have to move in different directions, it is required that we be able to adjust our arm actions appropriately for each movement, pattern, and direction.
Speed is an integral part of sports. Fortunately, with proper coaching, time and repetition it can be developed.
Speed looks different for athletes based on their age, sport and training experience. We believe it is important to work with the athlete where they are so that they can develop the skills they need for the stage of life they are in.
Our Athletic Performance Training Program works to develop speed for linear and multidirectional EVERY day of the week. We target a specific aspect of speed and work to maximize the techniques necessary, while also developing strength during each session to maximize your athletes speed. Athletes from 10-College Age work in a group setting to help them develop the skills necessary to be THEIR best, no matter their age or sport.
Our Fall Sessions begin Monday, August 20. Reserve Your Spot today to help your Athlete Maximize their Performance and see significant progress in their speed.