When you think of speed and agility training, what images come to mind?

Are they images of cone drills, ladders, fast feet drills or treadmill running?

Speed and agility is a monster of a topic.  It is vast with a tremendous amount of variables impacting it.  Everything from fiber type development, elasticity, what energy systems you are training (conditioning), position of the pelvis to vision and DNA.

And that’s just a few factors impacting your ability to improve SPORT SPEED.

Let’s hit on some on a few of those factors and how they impact speed…

1) Position

Something few take into account is position.  The position of your bones determine the position of your muscles.  The position of your muscles determines how they will function.  For example, if the pelvis is tilted forward, the back of the pelvis lifts up and your hamstrings are pulled long therefore impacting their ability to function effectively.

For example:

If both sides of your pelvis are tilted forward this increases the likelihood of you coming out of a cut and getting too tall versus moving in the direction you want to cut.

If one side of your pelvis is tilted forward then it will impact your ability to decelerate going into a cut or re accelerate out of a cut.

2) Elasticity

Plyometrics is a term that encompasses a lot of movements.  It’s a buzzword much like core is…both are so broad.  Plyometrics can train elasticity and we need elasticity to have sport speed.  We also need to build capacity with elasticity.  It’s like building up any skill.  If you are learning to shoot a basketball you don’t start with practicing 3 pointers on day 1.  You start with form shooting a few feet away from the basket and build your way out.

You need to prepare your tissues to handle the pounding that comes with sports.  This happens just like the shooting example.  Start by building the elastic quality and teaching your body how to take the slack out of the muscle in order to use the tendons for their elasticity.  Using the muscles will just dampen the movement and reduce the speed.  Then you need to progressively build the capacity of the tissues to perform these actions throughout an entire game.

3) Specificity for Transfer

In order for training to transfer directly to sport performance, there has to be an element of specificity.  For example…how closely does a ladder drill reflect movements in the sport?  The ladder is rehearsed, fixed and patterned.  Sports is reactive, unpredictable and variable.  This goes for any fixed drill.  Fixed drills are great for teaching a skill for need to be transitioned into an environment that is chaotic, unpredictable and reactive because that is the environment the skill will be displayed in.

So if you are a parent taking your athlete to a speed coach or a sport coach wanting to do some work with your team, the above qualities have to be kept in mind if you want your training to be effective.  Otherwise, you are not training your athletes…you are just giving them something to do.

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