In today’s age, the name of the game is Speed. Regardless of sport or age, athletes at all levels are looking for new ways to increase speed. Whether that is a more explosive first step off the ball in football or better acceleration in the 100m dash, all the way to being able to run a better 60m/20m time in front college baseball/softball scouts. Not only can speed help you win games, but it can also turn heads from college and pro scouts even at early ages.
Whether your goal is to earn a college scholarship or just go from one of the slowest athletes on your team to one of the fastest, here are 3 easy steps you can take inside and outside the gym to improve speed.
Get Stronger! - Force production is the number one factor in speed. This means that the more efficient your body is at creating more mass specific force into the ground, at proper angles, the faster you will be. In even simpler terms, if you can push harder into the ground when you run you will run faster! It’s literally that simple. There are a few ways you can go about this:
Introduce a proper strength and conditioning program. Start by properly being able to perform movements such as squats, deadlifts, KB Swings, and Lunges as well as core exercises such as planks, deadbugs, and variations of carries to improve the core strength.
Once you’ve established a strength base and mastered basic motor patterns above you can start to introduce more jumps such as box jumps.
Now that you have covered the basics and are producing more force with control over both jumps and landings the next step is to incorporate plyos such as broad jumps or hurdle hops
Develop Better Coordination - Developing proper mechanics for speed can be challenging especially for athletes hitting growth spurts or that are lacking basic levels of coordination due to how dynamic (or fast) sprinting occurs. In Sprinting a basic rule of thumb is that the arms control the legs. Most athletes lack the basic mechanics to drive a proper body lean as well as coordination between the arms, core, and legs to produce the best possible sprint mechanics. So what can we do to improve that coordination? Start with these basic drills to learn to create force with proper arm action.
Improve Mobility - A third, and very common reason that athletes are lacking in linear speed is a lack of mobility. When athletes lose the ability to move well and get stuck in certain patterns such as slouched shoulders, increased stiffness in the hips and ankles, and overstretched hamstrings, the result is a decrease in speed. This is primarily due to the fact that they can no longer get into proper positions to produce the force or angles needed to run FAST. Try these mobility exercises to help improve movement quality and increase speed.