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Speed and power are critical in sports because you will rarely reach maximum speed during the game. Therefore, players with speed acceleration and explosive power will outperform their equals.
You can improve your sports power by improving your muscle's rate-of-force production (how fast your muscles can produce force, or speed strength).
This goes far beyond brute muscular strength. The strongest athletes are not necessarily the most powerful athletes on the field or court. Explosive power has to be trained in athletes. Plyometric exercises are one way to improve your athletic power.
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 fast and explosive under control!
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Other things being equal, a muscular, powerful athlete will outperform a fat, slower or skinny, weaker athlete. Sports Fitness Hut's Fat Blaster Athletic Power Training System will give you your "lean and mean" athletic machine!
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Sports Fitness Hut