Speed is one of the most desirable physical attributes for an athlete.
Speed turns pitchers into cannons who strike out every player.
Speed turns wide receivers into cheetahs who are impossible to tackle.
Speed turns slow, clumsy runners into quick, agile runners who win races.
As the saying goes … speed kills.
Over the years, a number of training philosophies, programs, and even facilities have been dedicated in the pursuit of improving athletes’ speed.
But, there is a ginormous issue with a lot of these speed-centric resources:
They tend to focus on only one “aspect” of training that improves speed.
When any particular program may only focus on one aspect (or maybe two) that improve speed, the most effective programs that increase an athlete’s speed will focus on THREE important areas.
Here are what these three important areas are:
1. Relative Strength and Body Control
Strength is a matter of force production, and the more force you can produce, the greater potential for speed you possess.
So, strength training is an essential part of increasing speed – but with two caveats.
First, strength needs to increase relative to an athlete’s bodyweight in order to affect speed. If you increase your deadlift by 10% but increase your bodyweight by 10%, too, then you haven’t achieved anything here.
Second, there must be body control. Bodyweight exercises – such as pushups, pullups, bodyweight rows, and lunges for example – not only improve an athlete’s strength, but body control. Since athletics requires a ton of complex movement, body control is important. If these movements are too difficult, they can be regressed, and if they are too easy, they can be made more difficult with added weight or variations.
2. Speed Work
This point sort of goes without saying … to really maximize your expression of speed and take advantage of your speed potential, you must actually work on speed.
Here’s an example to make this idea easier to understand … when you build your speed potential through strength training, you are laying down a concrete foundation – the greater an athlete’s relative strength, the larger this “foundation” is.
When you work on speed (through sprinting, medicine ball slams and tosses, etc.), you are taking advantage of this foundation by building a huge house on it. The bigger the foundation, the bigger you can make your house, but you need to actually work on building this house.
Speed work is like building a big house on the foundation of strength you’ve developed previously.
3. Agility and Technique Work
Now you’ve become relatively strong, have worked on transforming that strength into speed using certain speed exercises, but can you display that speed on the field or court?
If you can sprint pretty quickly, or toss a medicine ball with a lot of speed, you’re still not guaranteed to have better speed with real-life movements.
This is agility training and technique comes in. This third and final part to your training program is like providing the finishing touches to that big ol’ house you built in our previous analogy …
You’ve got a big foundation with a huge house on top of it. But did you make it look good yet? Paint outside or inside? Fill it with nice looking furniture? Install the plumbing, heating, or A/C?
These finishing touches are what you really want in a nice, functional house (no matter the size).
Agility training and technique work are your “finishing touches” that truly transform your strength and speed into something useable on the field.
A training program for athletes that includes all three of these aspects will ensure that those who follow it will become faster, powerful, more athletic, and overall better than others on the field or court.
That’s why, at GameChanger, we ensure that we cover all of these bases so that our athletes can take themselves to the next level of performance.
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