The most sought-after attribute in the realm of performance is speed. The fastest player in any sport is often then best. There are exceptions of course but speed kills. The old adage that states; just get your players stronger and they will get faster is outdated. We all know strength is the foundation for all athletic endeavors.
“Its impossible to get too strong but it’s POSSIBLE to be only strong.”
A common problem seen regarding speed training is coaches not treating speed work like they do their strength work. Novice athletes who have little experience with weights are not placed under a heavy bar their first session. It’s a curation process that takes time. They need to become familiar with the movement, how to control their body and how to develop neurological intent.
Speed training is no different. How are you going to have an athlete perform a max effort box jump or single leg jump if you have not properly laid the foundation of preparing their joints, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue for the high forces placed upon them? It takes time.
True speed training requires attention to detail, technical mastery, and a significant amount of time to see real long-term results.
You’re NOT Paying Attention to Detail
Observe anybody who is great at something in one field or another. The common theme amongst them is their attention to detail. They have the same habits, systems, and way of doing things over a long period of time.
Athletes at the highest level are also the most detailed and disciplined in their training. As coaches, we pride ourselves on ensuring our athletes receive extreme precision and detail in their training. This includes how they move and execute every single rep within a given movement.
“Practice does not make perfect,
‘Perfect Practice’ makes perfect.”
Coaches who do not provide their athletes with constant feedback, constructive criticism, and positive reassurance are doing their athletes a disservice. As an athlete, every rep matters, even in the warm ups. You are greasing the groove and developing habits that will benefit you in the long term. You must understand that in order to be great you must master the basics.
“Being Great is Boring.”
Let me explain, the best athletes in the world are masters at the basics. Improving your speed requires precise technical mastery of all of the movements involved. An athlete who can perform a high-knee drill with perfection vs. an athlete who performs a decent high-knee drill will always have an advantage when it comes to performing the more advanced movements.
Our Game speed sessions consist of 20-30 minutes of technique work at the beginning of every session. Its like clock-work. There are no exceptions
Athletes between the ages of 10-20 are like sponges. They absorb everything they are taught. It is my job to ensure that I provide them with the proper foundation for all other athletic endeavors.
As a coach, you must ensure you are providing them with the proper foundation. Bad habits created today will be very hard to quit later down the road once they have been embedded in their brain.
I always use the analogy of shooting a free throw in basketball. The best shooters have the exact same routine when they step up to the line. Whether they are alone in their driveway, staying late after practice, playing in a scrimmage, or even a championship game – their routine is the same.
We want our athletes to master the basics before we move on to more advanced options. What you’ll find is they don’t skip a beat with the more advanced movements. Its like they’ve performed them a 1,000 times.
Don’t be so quick to get to the “fun stuff” you’ll pay for it later if you don’t put the work in upfront when it comes to speed and power movements.
You’re NOT Properly Managing the Intensity, Volume and Frequency of Your Speed and Power Work
In the strength world most coaches are familiar with priliprens table. Priliprens table is used as a guide to regulate how much volume we should train with at a given intensity.
We all know that when dealing with heavier weights we should keep the reps and sets down. When dealing with lighter to moderate weights we can accumulate more volume.
I do not see this same programming model being applied to speed and power work. I see it all the time. 10×20 yard sprints, sets of 5-10 on the box jump, and very minimal break periods.
Speed and Power training is the MOST neurological thing you can do in the gym. Nothing in the weight room moves at .10 m/s. So why do we have our athletes performing back to back sprints with minimal break periods?
If you have your athletes perform 10 sprints I GUARANTEE that the first 3-4 will be high effort and quality and the other 6-7 you’re wasting your time.
Speed and Power Training Parameters:
- Speed/Power work should be done at the beginning of your training session
- Speed Training before upper days
- Power days before lower body days
- For Speed work – 3-5 sets with a bare minimum of 2-3 minutes’ rest between sets
- For Power Works 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps with a bare minimum of 1-3 minutes’ rest.
Treat your speed work like you do your strength work and watch your athlete’s performance sky rocket.
See you December 3rd for our first 13 week block HERE at Varsity House Gym.
– Coach Adam
CONNECT WITH ADAM MENNER
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