Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Play The Game Faster

Some players play the game faster and some players are just fast. Sound confusing? Here's an example: Hall of Fame pro football wide receiver Jerry Rice was not considered to be blazing fast. Yet, I never saw anyone catch him from behind during a game.

Mr. Rice played the football game fast. Why? He practiced fast. During practice, he was legendary for running full speed after a catch all the way to the end zone (even if it was 80 yards). Some players play the game slow even if they are fast.

Besides having good practice habits, here are some other things you can do to play the game at a faster pace:

Because you will rarely reach maximum speed during the game, playing speed is critical. No matter what sport you play, there are only 5 ways to improve playing speed:

1.Starting ability is critical. You can improve starting ability by practicing starts from 3-point, 4-point, standing and moving positions. At this point, it is important to accelerate to maximum speed (or as close as possible).

2. Increase your stride length. One good way to improve stride length is to effectively pump your arms as fast as possible. Leg strength and power also improve stride length.

3. Improve your stride rate (the number of steps you take per second). Leg strength and power improve stride rate. There is one running technique that is often overlooked. One way to run faster is to apply more force to the ground with your feet. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The more force you apply to the ground, the more the ground will "give you power." When you run, don't lift your knee past your "thigh being parallel" to the ground. This way, you will use your "power center" (glutes and hamstrings) to apply force to the ground instead of the less powerful hip flexors. In other words, running "with high knees" is not the best way to run. Also, step over the opposite knee and drive the foot down into the ground to create maximum force.

4. Improve your speed endurance. Speed endurance will not make you faster but it will keep you from slowing down when you are fatigued after repeated sprints.

5. Improve your running mechanics. You should practice running mechanics every day.

Your goal should be to play the game as fast as you can with control!

Be sure and download your Free Dumbbell and Medicine Ball Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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