10 Speed Measurements & Facts Athletes Should Know

10 Speed Measurements & Facts Athletes Should Know

How do you know if you're really fast for your age nationally, and not just fast compared to your immediate peers?
Is your training putting you in the best position to maximize your speed potential?
These are questions most athletes striving to be their best would like the answers to, I'm sure.
Taken from presentations given by top speed coaches Dan Pfaff, Jimmy Ratcliffe, Boo Schexnayder, Nicole Rodriguez and Jim Kielbaso, coaches who've worked with many of the fastest athletes in the country, here are 10 key statistical takeaways for identifying and developing elite speed.
  • Elite high school sprinters spend just 0.08 seconds on the ground at foot contact during each top speed sprint stride.
  • Elite sprinters are on the ground twice as long as they're in the air during the first couple strides, but that gradually transitions so at top speed they are then in the air 1.6 times longer than they're on the ground.
  • Elite sprinters at all levels can squat roughly 1.7 to 2.1 times their bodyweight. Any more or less than this ratio negatively impacts speed development.
  • Under 1 second in a 10 yard fly (sprints where you get to build speed before the start line) is an elite score if using a laser timer.
  • 1.5 to 1.7 seconds is an outstanding time for the first 10 yards of a sprint when laser timed, 1.3 to 1.5 is equivalent if you use a stopwatch.
  • Typically it takes 7 strides to cover your first 10 yards, then roughly 5 strides for every 10 yard zone thereafter.
  • College and pro athletes should have an absolute minimum vertical jump of 26" for males, 19" for females. Any lower and it is extremely hard to keep up with the speed and power necessary for success at those levels.
  • By the 10 yard point in a sprint, truly fast high school-age athletes are already running roughly 14 to 16 miles per hour.
  • They then hit roughly 20 MPH or a little bit more at peak velocity.
  • Weight room training does not come anywhere close to replicating the speeds athletes need to play fast. Those who do 'speed squats' move 0.3 to 0.5 meters per second, and Olympic Lifts create a 1.25 to 1.50 meter per second peak velocity. In comparison, a 10 meter sprint run at 1.5 seconds creates a velocity of 9 meters per second.

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