Growing up, we have friends that we played sports with that were faster than us. Many people would tell us that they were born with it. And we believed them. But the reality is you can be fast if you want to be. Many people and parents have the misconception that speed cannot be developed. Completely false. We believe that it can! There is NOT a speed gene that young athletes are born with. There are just people that work harder than others, get better quality training and coaching, and want it more than everyone else so they spend more quality time developing speed and therefore end up being faster than everyone else. By the way, my friends that were faster than me, usually were sprinters in their spare time. Which means they got better training than I did at the right times of their lives.
Speed(s) is defined as distance (d) travel x over time (t). There are tons of drills that to improve athletic speed. But we think help develop athletic speed through drills and exercises that most leave out of speed training and development. Developing speed for athletes in team sports is much more about training for the 40 yard dash. It’s about coaching them to take proper angles, react quickly, and use the proper foot mechanics to get from point A to B as fast as possible. This post is meant to help athletes, coaches, and parents understand what speed is for athletes and what the drills actually are meant to improve to enhance the speed. If we understand what athletic speed is made of and how to separate and improve it the drills that we make can be endless.
3 Types of Speed
There are 3 types of speed. Speed for athletes is made of linear, which is what track and field sprinters and athletes participate in. The 40 yard dash or the 100 meter dash are some examples of linear speed. The second type of speed is lateral which is what most other athletes participate in. Basketball players, Linebackers in football, and tennis athletes know lateral speed well. And lastly, also most importantly, is multidirectional speed. This type of speed also involves most sports. Multidirectional speed is moving lateral one second and linear another while being able to react to the sport. It’s about creating angles that can get you there faster.
Why is this important in training? Because training only one aspect of speed can be detrimental to the athlete. We must train all aspects of speed.
Drills that Improve Linear Speed
Linear Speed is the most trained. There are a ton of videos and drills that coaches, parents, and athletes love to do to train to get their 40 yard dash speed faster. We, at MVP, like to do the basic drills but work on some specific things that the athlete might be doing wrong to help them. A lot of times its not a footwork problem for youth athletes. Its a strength problem. Many young athletes today don’t sprint well because they haven’t developed the strength and proper movement pattern to be fast. So it’s impossible for them to sprint correctly. We train mechanics, stance and starts, and strength when it comes to improving athletic speed development.
Mechanics MUST be taught. Posture, arms, and positioning of the feet and knees.
Train Strength. Many issues can be corrected through strength training. Most athletic speed problems are because of improper movement patterns and strengthening of hip, knee, ankle and core.
Acceleration is most important for developing athletic speed. This should be a focus.
Drills that Improve Lateral Speed
Lateral Speed is also a very important component that doesn’t get trained much by sport coaches yet it is one of the major components in many team and individual sports. Shuffling and Karioka Drills are examples of lateral athletic speed development. Athletes must develop ways to change directions, learn to be coached to decelerate properly, and know how proper footworks are involved in lateral speed and change of direction.
Teaching Stance and Start out of lateral stance can be beneficial
Hip Adductors and Abductor mobility can be limiting factors with athletes that are tight. Work on Stretching Groin and Hip/Gluteal Muscles.
“The Shortest Distance Between 2 Points is a Straight Line” Make sure you coach this point. They should train lateral speed on a line if possible.
Drills that Improve Multidirectional Speed
Multidirectional Speed is the most important of the 3 that need to be coached and taught. Sport is not just about how fast you are. Because after all, if that was the case the fastest sprinters would be football, basketball, soccer, and baseball players. Its about reacting quickly and taking good, straight angles to get there quicker. This is not something that young athletes just pick up. It must be coached to do it properly. This skill is something that the athletes must be aware of to create better angles.
Teach Deceleration Linear and Lateral- low center of gravity “sit in invisible chair”
Change of Direction (COD) is most important
Reaction. Coaching reaction by using audible and visual cues that are directly related to the sport can significantly improve performance
Here is a sample of the program that Max Velocity Performance Training does everyday
Speed Mechanics- Upper and Lower 1, 2, 3
Footwork and Quickness- DBSQ (Dynamic Balance Stability and Quickness)- Linear, Lateral, Multidirectional
Agility, Change of Direction (COD), and Deceleration- Shuffle, Karioke
Power Development- Bounding, Broad Jumps, Hurdle Training – Linear, Lateral, Multi-directional
Speed Development- 4 Way Stance and Starts (starting in different directions), Linear Speed
Strength Development- Linear Lunge or Multi Directional Lunge, Hip/Glute/Hamstring Development and Core Strengthening