speed training

4 Drills to Enhance Your Sprints

Now that the weather is finally more favorable, it's time to get outside and run around. Whether you're playing in a summer league for high school sports or you're an adult in the real-world and you join up with a grown-up league. Most field and court sports require quick bursts of speed to reach a ball or an opponent with the ball. Today I have some drills you can implement to work on that explosion and subsequent acceleration. 

All of the drills would be best performed for 5-8 yds each for 2-3 sets of 2-4 reps. You'll want to keep the volume low to minimize fatigue. Each rep should be explosive and quick and you can't do that if you're tired.

In each drill you want to focus on a few things:

1. Apply as much force as possible on the first few steps-- think about exploding out of your shoes.

2. Maintain a tight core-- this will minimize any lateral movement thus streamlining your body as much as possible. Plus, you can transfer force from the ground through your legs more effectively through a stiff core than you can through a loosey-goosey one. 

3. Maintain strong knee and elbow drive-- don't run like a limp noodle man

Without further ado... 

Falling Start

If you have a hard time with acceleration, this is a useful drill as it forces you to lean forward (the acceleration phase requires a forward lean of the torso). 

Side Start

Side starts are perfect for working on acceleration in the frontal plane, sideways, as most of the time in a game scenario, you won't start running in the saggital plane (straight forward).

PUPP to Start

It's also not guaranteed that you will always start sprinting after an opponent standing up. This drill teaches you how to drive forward from the ground and pop up quickly.

Barrel Roll to Sprint

Let's say you made a spectacular dive in a game, but you need to get back up on your feet. By practicing rolling, you will teach your vestibular (balance) system how to re-orient so you won't be caught unawares during the heat of the moment. At least two of my athletes reported rolling in a game and I personally witnessed another doing so during his game. I was so proud. 

There you have it! Try those out the next time you find yourself on a field!   

Guest Post: Speed and Agility Development by Goose

So you want to run like this guy!

But you feel like this guy?

No need to freak out, here are a couple of tips to get you running lightning fast!

1. Conditioning

If you slack on your conditioning it doesn’t matter how fast you can run. You’ll be pooped out after one play and rock the bench for the rest of the game! Here are some suggestions, as well as a link, to get your conditioning game on par:

-Conditioning Article

-Sled Workouts

-Hill/Bleacher Workouts

-Track Workouts

Any conditioning work you do should be focused on maintaining a fast speed for a 15-30 seconds time span. A strong conditioning base is imperative as the game comprises of repeated quick all out bursts of speed for a long time. Keep this in mind when designing your workouts and the role rest plays in said workout.

2. Acceleration

Once your conditioning and strength training needs are met, now it’s time for the fun! Acceleration work should focus on improving your ability to reach your top speed as fast as possible. If you’re a running back, wide receiver, linebacker, or safety you’ll be more efficient at your job if you can reach top speed within 15-20 yards rather than 25-30 yards. Here are some suggestions on how to improve acceleration:

-Overspeed Training

-Downhill Running (Use a slight downhill)

-Resisted Sprint Training

All three of these drills force quicker turn over (how fast your feet hit the ground) and/or exert high amounts of force on the ground. Both are the components needed to accelerate proficiently.

3. Believe in the process!

A lot of young athletes are really eager and fired up to improve but then get discouraged when it doesn’t come fast and easy. Improving your abilities is an everyday, 24/7, 365 day grind. If you are putting in the work on the field and in the weight room, plus staying diligent with flexibility and mobility work, then result will come. (Note from Kelsey: and EAT REAL FOOD!!!) Be patient, allow your body to do its thing, and trust in your coach’s plan!