Years ago the thought was that you were born with speed:you either had it or you didn’t. I am here to tell you this is not true. We know “speed” is a skill which can be worked on and you can become better at it. I think if we polled every one of our athletes, one of their top goals would be to become faster. Speed is the major component to being dominant in your sport.
Here are 5 Reasons why you might not be getting faster:
- 1)Not Taking Enough Rest Between Sprints.
- You need to make sure you are taking proper rest between your sprints. Too often, sprint training can be turned into conditioning. You want to be at complete recovery if the goal is to become faster. The distance should be short, intensity high, and the rest long and you will see your speed increase. A lot of times, coaches associate busyness with production, meaning athletes should always be running; however, there should be a lot of resting if you are doing it right. We tell our athletes, “speed training should make you feel worked, not exhausted.”
- 2)Just Not Strong Enough.
- When people think of speed, they don’t think of strength; however, strength is a major component to becoming fast. In reference to speed, a couple of things happen when you are stronger.First, you have the ability to put more force in the ground and you will take more force from the ground (very important).The other major component of strength is rigidness. Being strong allows you to created joint stiffness and rigidness which reduces energy leaks. We are big fans of “relative strength” when it comes to speed. Relative strength is how strong you are in relation to your bodyweight.Sprinting is essentially you overcoming your own particular bodyweight. Sprinters should not train like powerlifters. You need to lift to get strong, but you don’t need to be able to squat a small car. Most people do not realize, or maybe they don’t believe it, but sprinting will make you strong. Take note:elite sprinters do not look like power lifters, they look like race horses. Make sure your strength training is designed to develop “race horses, not plow horses.”
- 3)Not Working On Acceleration.
- Sprinting starts with acceleration, whether we are taking your body from a static position or from a moving position, we have to use acceleration mechanics. You need to be in a good accelerated posture, utilizing a positive shin angle, and putting force into the ground. Most multi-directional sports, field sports, and court sports utilize acceleration mechanics because there are only short bursts of linear movements that require deceleration and acceleration. Acceleration mechanics can be achieved through using various starting positions to help place the athlete in the right positions.
- 4)Not Working On Max Speed.
- Yes, acceleration is very important, but you cannot get faster if you don’t run as fast as you can. If we improve our max speed, our acceleration will become faster, but if we just constantly work on acceleration, our max speed will not get faster. They do not reciprocate that way. Sprinting full speed will also require different postures and limb angles compared to acceleration mechanics and the foot strike rhythm is much faster. When working on max speed, take into consideration the volume because this is a very high intensity movement.
- 5)Spending Too Much Time On Drills And Fancy Equipment.
- All of the insane cone and ladder drills are not going to get you faster.We have all seen the crazy footwork drills people do, but I have news for you, these drills will not get your speed faster because it is not force specific to sprinting. When you are Ickey shuffling through the ladder or dancing around a cone, you are not placing the specific force required for sprinting. One can argue these drills help with coordination but they do not make you faster, if this is what you are looking to do.
- There is now an overwhelming abundance of fancy equipment out there that helps with speed improvement. There are resistance sprinting devices and crazy technology that gives feedback. I think this is all great, and I love to geek out on some of this stuff; however, if your goal is to sprint faster, then you need to do just that: SPRINT FAST. In particular, if you are a developing athlete you do not need fancy devices to increase your speed. I like to think these devices are for elite level athletes when the training opportunity window begins to close. You don’t need to waste your money on fancy equipment, just find some open space and take off.