Are you fast enough?
What do rugby, tennis, football, hockey, netball, triathlons etc. have in common? Increase your speed and you’ll generally improve your performance. Granted, speed will only get you so far. There are a plethora of other attributes that will be needed to make a complete athlete in any given sport. However, for a vast cohort participating in amateur or even semi-professional sports, a lack of speed may be hindering our performance.
Below is a chart taken from the Kinetics Manual chapter of speed development (underneath is the link for the full paper). Shown, is the influence that different speed training techniques have on the various stages of sprinting. If, for an example, we take a look at tennis, in any given burst of acceleration it is unlikely that one would travel more that 5 metres. If we look at the correlating column marked “0-5m”, we see which forms of training may be most beneficial to improving speed for playing tennis. From Vermeil’s chart, it shows that resisted sprinting, explosive jumping, Olympic lifting and heavy squatting will have the greatest influence over the 0-5metre sprint acceleration.
This speed development paper discusses ways in which a speed training program may be implemented, the various stages or warming up and cooling down, examples of the different techniques and exercises used to achieve these goals, the importance or rest, factors which may be reducing sprint acceleration and how that may be corrected, and a training template to improve sprint performance. By understanding what your speed needs are for your given sport, it may be possible to positively affect this attribute which plays such a pivotal role in athletic performance. Below, is the link to the speed development paper – a well worth read, for those in-season, starting pre-season, or considering their first season.