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Are your athletes bored?

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Are your athletes getting bored of running the same speed training workouts?Yes, those workouts are important to developing a fast and agile athlete, but if your athletes are losing focus because they are performing the same drills, drills they can perform in their sleep, the workouts are actually counterproductive.

I have experienced this. You can see in your athlete’s eyes that their motivation for a particular workout has diminished. I use to tell my athletes how they needed to perform these workouts to get faster and not everything we do has to be fun.

I would try to inspire them and try to hit certain cues that would hopefully get them to see the end vision of how their workouts will payoff down the road. But, I could still see some of the athlete’s intensity fade.

I finally realized that speed training doesn’t always have to be serious.

In fact, it’s better if you have fun with your athletes as they tend to remember the techniques better.

I am not saying that you should take your athletes to an amusement park or to the local club. You just need to find a way to get the desired workout in without performing it in the same 10×40 meter with 4 minutes rest type of format.

There are ways to throw in the occasional ‘speed game’ that works on mechanics and improves agility, speed, coordination, reaction time, energy systems, etc.

I have a few speed training games that I got from Jeremy Boone’s Movement Based Games DVD. (Coach Boone is currently the Speed Consultant for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, has worked with USA Soccer, the NBA, MLB and serves as the personal speed coach for athletes in all these professional leagues.)

For more information on Coach Boone’s DVD go to: http://athletesacceleration.com/movementbasedgames.html

I don’t introduce speed games until I have gone over proper mechanics for things like cutting and acceleration technique so I can explain how these techniques carry over to the games and they can experience them in ‘live’ event.Here are some of my favorite games:

Box Game

* Set up four cones to make a square. The distance will depend on how many athletes you have and how long you want the drill to last. If you are unsure, set them 10 yards a apart to start. You can always extend the distance if it looks too easy. You can make it more challenging by widening the field.

* Break your athletes into 2 equal teams.

* Team 1 is on the inside of the square and Team 2 is on the outside in a line

* One member of Team 2 runs into the square and has to tag any member of Team 1. Your stop watch starts once the athlete on Team 2 runs into the square.

* Once the member of Team 2 tags someone on Team 1, they run out of the square and slaps hands with the next person in line on their team. The next athlete on Team 2 performs the same task (trying to tag a member of Team 1).

* When a member of Team 1 is tagged, they remain in the square and can be tagged again.

* Team 2’s turn ends when the last member of their team has tagged someone and has run out of the square.

* Record Team 2’s final time from your stop watch.

* Now the teams switch ‘sides’. Team 2 is now on the inside (tagee) of the square and Team 1 is on the outside (tagger).

* The team that wins the round is the team with the fastest time. I play the best out of 5.
Box Game 2

Everything is set up like Box Game One. The only difference is that when someone inside the square is tagged, they have to leave the square and go sit down. The game ends when everyone inside the square has been tagged.
Red/Blue

This is a great game for working on acceleration and reaction time.

* Set 3 cones in a straight line 20 yards a part.

* Split your athletes into 2 equal teams

* Label the far cones (1 and 3). One side is red and the other is blue (you can really use any term/word for these). Let call cone 1 red and cone 3 blue for now.

* One athlete from each team meets at the middle cone (or cone #2)

* Since we are working on acceleration, I pick a starting position for the athletes to begin with. For example, they can both starting in a push-up position, kneeling position, on 1 knee, on their backs, back-to-back, staggered stance, 3 point stance, etc. You can have them face each other, side by side, away from each other etc.

* Let’s say that both athletes are in a push-up ‘down’ position (on their stomachs) and they are side by side. I then yell ‘Red’ (the athletes shouldn’t know what color you are going to call beforehand). Both athletes get up as fast as possible and sprint to cone 1. The first person that makes it there gets a point.

* The team that ends up with the most points wins.

* Another way to play is to have a Last Man/Woman Standing game where each person that wins their turn goes to the next round until there is no one left and there is only one winner.

I hope I explained those speed games well enough for you to follow them as I know it is hard to describe exercises without being able to see them.

These games have worked amazing for me. They are ideal for the middle of a training season when you think your athletes might be a little burnt out or bored of the same workouts. It’s great to mix it up and have a little fun while getting some good speed and agility training in.

Also, if you run speed camps or any sports camps, these are great to add. Athletes of all levels love these games since they are all competitive and everyone is always looking to have a little fun added to their training.

I guarantee that these games will quickly become your team’s favorite ‘workout’. I apologize in advance when your athletes continuously ask you when the next time they can play these games again will be.

Yours in speed,

Patrick Beith

P.S. – To discover 18 movement based games that fit your athletes regardless of age or sport, check out Jeremy Boone’s Movement Based Games DVD-
http://athletesacceleration.com/movementbasedgames.html

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