Speed Training Blueprint - Part 3 of 4

Speed Training Blueprint - Part 3 of 4

Here in the 3rd installment of our Speed Training Blueprint, we'll cover some of the best ways athletes can develop speed on their own.   

In case you missed the first 2 parts of this series, you can go back and check them out here:

Part 1 - http://powersourceleominster.com/Speed-Training-Blueprint-Part-1-of-4

Part 2 - http://powersourceleominster.com/Speed-Training-Blueprint-Part-2-of-4

Today, we want to focus on habits that athletes can do on a regular basis to raise their speed and agility potential.

Just like we've seen our best hockey players shoot thousands of pucks on their own time, soccer players endlessly dribble in their yard (or in the house!), golfers hit shots in their garage...the greatest young athletes we've seen put in the time beyond their regular workout sessions.

Here are the 5 best 'bang for your buck' habits and activities athletes can do daily (or near daily) basis at home:

Jump Rope

WHY?  -  It's a powerful tool to improve ground reaction time, and coordination.   Both are critical to playing faster and quicker in just about any sport.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT - First off, its important to mention that if you currently run, jump and cut a lot in your sport (practice/games every day, play on multiple teams, etc) then adding jump rope skills on top of that may lead to overuse injuries like shin splints, foot pain and knee pain.

However, assuming you are not overloaded physically then a 5 to 10 minute jump rope routine each day would be a great investment of time in terms of speed development.

It doesn't have to be anything fancy - shoot for 50 jumps in a row, then 100, etc.  Add some coordination patterns with your feet (crossing your arms is nice, but doesn't lead to better footwork) from time to time for increased coordination and agility.

And don't get frustrated if its hard at first!   There may be a bit of a learning curve to start, so alternate a minute or so using the rope to the next minute pretending you're using the rope to get your set of 50+

Improve Your Nutrition

WHY? - For one, carrying extra weight is like running with a weight vest on.   Dropping some excess weight on its own may lead to greater speed.

For athletes who are already lean, often times they are the ones who lack horsepower.  Eating healthier, combined with a good strength development program, builds muscle and increases power gains necessary to be fast

And finally, eating healthier gives you more energy, allowing you to train harder and more consistently over the coming months and years.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT -  This can vary widely from person to person.  I'd look to change one thing at a time, starting with your greatest nutritional issue, and work down the list until your daily diet looks pretty strong.

To help you get started on finding your biggest needs, here's a link to a previous post on Sports Nutrition - http://powersourceleominster.com/40-QUICK-SPORTS-NUTRITION-TIPS-FACTS

Sprint, Play & Be Active At Fast Speeds

WHY? - "We are what we repeatedly do." - Aristotle

I'm guessing the great philosopher wasn't the fastest human of his time, as he reportedly sat and thought all day, but his words speak volumes when it comes to speed training.

Run slow, get slow.

Run fast, get fast.  

You develop the coordination and specific strength needed for sprinting at faster speeds if you practice it over and over.  

HOW TO IMPLEMENT  - At younger ages, simply going out and playing is ideal.   I don't know how to explain the structure of this, because in previous generations kids just went out and did this.  

For the high school and college athlete, though, a bit more structure makes sense.   Playing pickup basketball, soccer, or some other game-based activity works nicely.  If you're on your own, simply running sprints a couple times per week is fine too so long as you don't overdo it.

For those who don't want to replace conditioning time (distance runs) with just short sprints you can look into tempo running, which are medium distance runs (50-200 yds) at 80-90% of your top speed.

Stretch

WHY? -  This is dependent on whether you have a documented shortcoming in your mobility that is limiting your stride length, and in turn your overall speed.  If you are already quite mobile, time spent in other categories would probably be more beneficial for you.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT - If you've identified certain muscle groups that get tight on a regular basis, consult with a physical therapist, sports performance coach, or even your team's coach to find targeted stretches you can do for just a few minutes a day.  

As with the nutrition section, there are too many potential scenarios to list here.   Consult with an expert to narrow down your needs, then execute the plan at least 5 days per week.

Core Stability

WHY? - As we discussed in Part 2, a weak midsection leads to wasted motion in sprinting, and poor positioning when cutting.   Both are dangerous and limiting.

That said, just like with mobility any time spent on core work is wasted if you already have a very stable midsection.   For those with a documented shortcoming, though, this is another easy improvement if you're willing to put in the time.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT - Sticking to fundamental exercises like planks, side planks and pushups would be plenty.   Better to do shorter times and reps with perfect form than to try and break a world record with an arched spine.

If you're into more sophisticated workout routines, I'm sure a quick Google search will at this point provide more core training workouts than you could do in a lifetime.



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