Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lateral Speed Improves Playing Speed

To improve your playing speed, you should focus on straight-ahead speed, lateral speed and agility (deceleration, stabilization, acceleration and change of direction with proper posture, strength and balance) and quickness (reaction time without hesitation).

Other important components of playing speed are speed strength, speed endurance and proper mechanics. Speed strength is a combination of starting speed, explosive speed (maximum velocity in the shortest time) and reactive speed.

Speed endurance is the ability to maintain maximum velocity or a percentage of maximum velocity for a prolonged period of time or in a fatigued state. Proper mechanics allows you to run with efficiency and is a product of posture, arm action and leg action.

Some sports, such as football require more power, explosion, reaction and lateral speed. A sport like soccer requires more endurance speed with the ability to mix in sprints during game action. You should emphasize your training for the types of speed needed in your sport.

Some important exercises to incorporate in your exercise programs are lateral lunges (with or without dumbbells), lateral bounding, lateral step ups (with or without dumbbells) and lateral shuffles (with or without resistance).

Straight-line speed is important but so is lateral speed and agility in sports. The athlete has to move quickly and efficiently from linear to lateral positions (and back again) many times during a practice or game.

The lateral lunge forces the athlete to decelerate movement through one hip at a time, placing greater emphasis on the gluteals and hamstrings. It trains the athlete to move correctly in the lateral direction.

Many knee ACL injuries occur when athletes place too much stress on their knees and not enough stress on their hips during deceleration. In other words, the hips are often under-used during sports activities.

Lateral bounding is a progression from lateral lunges that requires the athlete to practice lateral movement at game-time speed.

Do not progress to full-speed lateral bounding until the proper mechanics are achieved with lateral lunges. One common mechanical breakdown is when the knees protrude far in front of the feet when decelerating, landing or squatting. This puts undue stress on the knees and often causes injury.

Lateral shuffles (with or without resistance) also work well to train correct lateral movement. Lateral shuffles without resistance can be practiced at game-time speed.

Lateral step ups emphasize development of the athlete's hips, quadriceps (especially outer) and glutes.

Any serious athletic exercise program would be incomplete without these exercises. They can be performed as strength or power (high speed) moves.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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  1. Incredible!!! Very well said dude..
    I have got lots of input from your blog and I bookmarked it and i will wait for your next post!!!

  2. Thanks Dr. Clark...I look forward to seeing you again. I'm following you on Twitter.


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