Making Quick Athletes Fast
We've all seen them. Those athletes that are so quick that they can twist and turn their bodies effortlessly while leaving their poor opponent all tied up in knots.
These jitterbugs have great first step quickness and reaction. They usually also possess fantastic agility and very good hip rotation.
But why is it they can't outrun someone? Have you noticed this "phenomenon" as well?
Yes, of course they may have created enough space between them and the last defender that
there is no chance of catching them. But in all the years of watching professional, collegiate and high school athletics enough, I have witnessed that these guys always get caught!
Why is that?
To the average sports fan watching these athletes they probably still think these guys are fast. Maybe just unlucky. However, to the professional eye (yes, that's me in this case) these guys are definitely quick but not fast. They are not Explosive enough.
A fast guy would "turn it on" and pull away from the defenders. His/her explosiveness would leave the others in the dust.
That is the difference between just being quick and being quick and fast.
Training to make the quick athlete fast would rely mostly on improving his/her acceleration, improving sprint mechanics, adding more explosive lower body training, perhaps addressing a glute/ham strength deficit and possibly adding a more thorough flexibility/mobility routine for inflexible joints and tight muscles of the trunk and lower extremity.
Emphasizing short sprints (10-25 yd. range) with speed mechanic drills prior for acceleration work.Other points of emphasis on increasing force production and strength for the posterior chain musculature are:
Heavy resisted sled work, heavy deadlifts and squats.
Increasing explosiveness with Olympic lifts and plyometrics for lower body power.
Foam roller work to increase joint mobility and decrease joint and muscle stiffness. Dynamic flexibility exercises and static stretches to also improve joint range of motion, increase muscle length and reduce muscle tightness.
Once acceleration has improved, top speed training can be implemented.
Having been one of those quick but not overly fast athletes in my athletic years, I wish what I know now could have been applied to back then.
Thanks for reading,
Coach Ford CSCS
IYCA Speed and Agility Specialist
PS for those Football players out there, check out Coach Carlisle's Total Football Training DVD. A very good DVD.
Check out link below
Total Football Training DVD
Complete Speed Training DVD
North/South Football DVD
Developing Young Athletes
Resisted Sled with Olympic Weights
Sports Speed Products