Thursday, October 11, 2007

Practical Tips For Increasing Sports Speed

The timing of speed training is important. High intensity exercise such as speed work, interval training (high intensity to low intensity rotation), one-legged exercises, etc. should be performed at the beginning of your workouts when you are fresh.

Your body's neuromuscular system is highly fatigue-prone at high intensities. Performing these exercises in a fatigued state will compromise what you are trying to accomplish.

For example, if a coach had players doing speed work at the end of practice, general conditioning would probably be achieved rather than the desired increase in optimum speed development. Here are a few tips to make your speed training more successful:

1) Any speed workout should begin after a 10 minute dynamic warmup. Exercises such as butt-kickers, shuffles, high knees, cariocas, back pedals, medicine ball drills, etc. get your body ready for activity. Perform static flexibility stretches after your workout to bring your muscles back to normal length.

2) When training for speed, distance running should be kept to a minimum because it reduces explosiveness. You can condition for your sport by doing metabolic training, which is training that closely mimics your game-time competition.

3) You have to train fast in order to get faster. Do all of your speed drills with maximum effort. Training at less than maximum effort will not improve your speed. Take adequate rest breaks (usually 3-5 minutes between sets).

4) Focus on learning correct running mechanics before focusing on improving speed. You will never reach your full potential with faulty running mechanics.

5) Straight-ahead speed is important but there are other types of speed such as starting speed, acceleration speed, top-end speed, change-of-direction speed, stopping speed, closing speed and speed endurance. You should train for all types of speed particular to your sport. Quickness, which is reacting explosively without hesitation should also be trained for and will enhance your overall speed.

6) For the young athlete (about ages 5-8) playful games that require bursts of speed, quickness and change of direction work well. Formal speed drills should be kept to a minimum at these ages.

7) Strength in your core, arms, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings and overall legs are important. Don't neglect strength training.

8) Master bodyweight speed drills before progressing to assisted or weight-bearing speed drills.

9) Speed drills should be functional, or relate to your sport. Focus on speed drills that closely mimic movements in your sport.

Bigger, faster and stronger is the rule of the day in modern athletics. Don't get left behind because you didn't train to improve your speed!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    Thank you for giving useful tips for increasing sports speed.



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