Force= mass x acceleration (acceleration is a component of force development)
This physics equation explains to us how important force development is when trying to improve speed. Since we know that the majority of sport movement is all about acceleration, if we improve that aspect we will also improve our all out speed. Therefore the best way to train for speed is to increase your ability to apply the most force into the ground as fast as possible. Heavy lifts involve applying tremendous amounts of force into the ground, pushing heavy sleds involve applying tremendous amounts of force into the ground and sprinting involves applying tremendous amounts of force into the ground. I am beating a point to death if you did not notice. Speed has to be trained just like any other component in the sport performance spectrum, but being fast does have huge correlation with how strong you are.
Included in your sport performance program there should be speed drills to assist in being as fast as you can become. These include, but are not limited to wall drills, 10 yard splits, 5-10-5 agility and 10 yard marching sled drives
There are progressions to performing the wall drive such as flexion of the hip to hold, repeated flexion to extension of the same leg, marching, skipping and single leg exchange. One thing holds constant for all the progressions though and that is the upper body remains rigid, the lumbar spine remains in a neutral position, the abdominals are pulled in and the shoulders are pulled back with proper neck alignment.
10 Yard Splits
The 10 yard split is going to make an athlete focus on the first push into the ground. The athlete can set up in a three point stance or the appropriate sport specific stance and work on the initial acceleration. Remember to use a strong first push and drive with your arms.
To perform this drill you need three cones with both end cones being set up 5 yards from the center cone. The athlete can go in either direction for their first five yards, and then cover the next ten yards to the other cone and sprint pass the center cone. The athlete must touch the imaginary line with each end cone. This drill incorporates the ability to stop and change direction quickly.
10 Yard Sled March
This speed drill acts like the wall march drill, but now there is a moveable load being used. It should be heavy enough that they are not able to run. Push into ground as hard as possible and drive the sled.
There are four great speed drills to add to your tool box.
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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