3 Tips for Speed Development
3 Tips for Speed Development
Tip 1 – Drive Phase – Don’t force yourself to “stay low”’ The drive phase happens right after you react to the starting gun. Your initial 8 -10 steps is considered your drive phase. The biggest problem seen with athletes in the drive phase is that athletes are ‘trying’ to stay too low. Keep the body angle at about 45 degrees and keep the heel of the recovery leg low to the ground during the first 8 strides. Drive the foot into the ground and explode powerfully backwards to create maximum ground reaction force. Drive your elbows backwards and keep your head down. You should be in a straight line from your heels to your head.
Tip 2 – Acceleration Phase In this phase, you want to think “powerful.” Since the acceleration phase (0-30 yards) is associated with a higher stride frequency then at maximum speed, focus on leg drive. You want to keep the feet behind your center of mass so that you can maximize leg drive. “Head down and drive.”
Tip 3 – Relaxation One of the most challenging things to do is to stay relaxed while sprinting full speed. I often look at my athlete’s cheeks to see if they are running with “puppy dog” cheeks. If an athlete is too tense, their jaw will be tight and they will be tensing their entire body.
If you see an athlete with a tight face, eyes squinting, teeth clenched, elevated shoulders, and tight fists, they are actually slowing themselves down. You have to let your muscles work for you and not against to maximize your speed potential. This is a tough concept to learn and MUST be practiced if you want get the most out of our speed.
Relax and let your speed come to you!
Closely related to speed, is agility and quickness. Let’s look at the difference.
Agility is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions as quickly as possible in the shortest amount of time possible
Quickness is the ability to react to a stimulus in the environment in the shortest amount of time possible (a whistle, clap, defender, etc.)
•Closely related to reaction time
Factors affecting Agility & Quickness:
Drills/Methodologies to Influence Agility & Quickness:
•Super Band overspeed/resisted speed drills (running forward & backward or left & right with Super Band; works acceleration & deceleration)
* Incorporate hand-eye coordination into any of these drills for additional quickness/reaction time.
To include hand-eye coordination and reaction time, you can include drills such as:
Furthermore, if you are needing to increase your agility and quickness, you can use the same aforementioned exercises to improve your speed. Due to the fact that agility often is lateral quickness or involves cutting, it is imperative that the groins & hips are adequately worked also. The following exercises will augment the strength exercises found in the speed & acceleration section: