Speed is the most eye catching, and one of the most important factors impacting sporting success. When a new athlete arrives, we evaluate their ability to accelerate, reaccelerate, and change direction. This brief assessment allows us to observe deficiencies that take top priority for their speed program. These are a few of the most common horsepower robbing errors we see are:
Creating the correct angles and having the proper posture is key to properly distributing force, leading to faster times and quicker change of direction in a reactive situation. Taking an extra half second to adjust to get into position means you’re already slower over an athlete who is always properly setup and ready to react. Ankles and hips should be bent and loaded with the chest up and arm ready and relaxed to create maximum force to explode forward.
Pro Tip: Practicing setting up for different foot positions ensures you are ready to react when presented with a variety of game based situations.
Arm drive is essential for propelling the body, and will change depending on the phase of acceleration and direction of the body. We typically see too little reciprocal arm action or athletes that are too stiff in their arm action leading to more of a “hammering” effect rather than a relaxed throwing action.
Pro Tip: Look for a collapsed arm in front of the body and long reaching arm behind the body when initially accelerating.
Stability and Strength – Great technique is amplified when the core is stiff enough to transfer force from the limbs to propel the body forward. Strength comes in many forms, for a new athlete it comes from simply increasing their muscle coordination, and for the intermediate athlete it may also involve increase in muscle mass and progressively heavier weight training leading to increased power production (providing a good base is present).
Pro Tip: Train for the age and experience you have. All athletes require a good base of movement and strength before progressing to higher level exercises.
Improving speed is a skill like another quality of sport and requires assessment, a good coaches eye, quality exercise prescription and programming. Have questions, or want to setup a 1-day clinic for your team? Not part of an organization but still want to get involved? Register for our 4-week speed and strength program and start training for next season now.
Be Stronger, Be Faster, #BeElite