Monday, July 7, 2008

Maintaining Speed and Power During Games

How many times have you seen this scenario: team A beats team B because team A was stronger, faster, quicker and more explosive at the end of the game.

Sports such as soccer, basketball, lacrosse and hockey require players to produce repeated sprints over and over. The player who is able to maintain a high level of speed and power (with fatigue) will "MAKE THE PLAYS" and help her or his team win.

Their is a good test for measuring an athlete's level of sprinting fatigue:

For this test, you will need 12 cones and a stopwatch. The illustration below will show you how to set the cones:

1. Sprint from A to B between the cones deviating 5m sideways in the middle of the sprint. There is 30 meters between cones A and B. Have a training partner start you off and time your sprint from A to B.

2. Jog slowly for 10 meters after point B and then back to the start taking 30 seconds to do so.

3. As soon as you reach the start, repeat the sprint.

4. Complete a total of 10 sprints and have your training partner note down all the times.

5. Subtract your fastest time from your slowest time. This is your sprint fatigue. For example if your slowest sprint was 7.8 seconds and your fastest sprint was 6.9 seconds your sprint fatigue is 0.9 (7.8 - 6.9).

Another useful tool to use with your results is to find the average speed of the first three trials and divide it by the average speed of the last three trials. So if your times were:

7.1s, 6.9s, 6.9s, 7.0s, 7.2s, 7.1s, 7.3s, 7.3s, 7.4s, 7.5s

The average of the first 3 times is 6.97s, the average of the last 3 times is 7.40s.

6.97 ÷ 7.40 = 0.94 X 100 = 94% which is excellent

Compare your Power Maintenance Level (percent of top speed maintained) score with the table below:

1) Excellent +90%
2) Good 85-89%
3) Average 80-84%
4) Poor <79 nbsp="" p="">
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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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