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More Answers to Your Questions About Speed Training

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This is a great mix of Q & A about many different topics under the speed training umbrella. Let us know if you likethis type of format and we can continue it in future newsletters.

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Thanks for your suggestions about speed training programs. I am very much pleased to read about your ideas. I want totry these fantastic skills on my own kids, one of whom is about 11 years old and another one is 14 years old. Both of them are tennis enthusiasts and are good at tennis but their coaches often complains regarding their poor footwork, movements, speed, agility and endurance. Perturbed by their poor speed and endurance, I consulted many physical education experts and there by i found that different coaches have different opinions. Some are in favour of putting the kids into speed training programs at this age of my kids. While others warns to avoid such speed training programes.

Kindly help me to come out of this phobia because some experts says that it will directly hinder their physical growth. ( height etc).
– Digvijay N.

No matter what decision you make you’ll always find an equal number of people who disagree with it. Certainly putting your kids into a speed training program will not ‘directly hinder their physical growth.’ The only exception to the long standing myth that strength training stunts growth plate development comes from overuse of load bearing exercises.

For example, if you have your 12 year old doing high load barbell squats on a regular basis then you run the risk of a potential problem. However, other than this extreme, I wouldn’t worry about it. Further, in discussing a speed development program such an idea makes little sense.
All things being equal, athletes at the age of your kids will suffer no physical development delays or issues by engaging in a well structured, scientifically based, age appropriate training program.

The problem comes in finding a reputable trainer. There are many so called speed coaches out there that are simply not good coaches. In fact I am always amazed at how little *some* Division I Track and Field Sprint coaches actually know about their events after watching athletes get slower and slower in their programs. So you can imagine what a lesser trained trainer may believe is appropriate. Find a reputable program, ask questions, ask for results, watch some of their training sessions, etc. before sending your athletes.

Otherwise, taking control of their training with a program like Complete Speed Training is the best way to guarantee both safety and results. Further, by using Complete Speed Trainingyou won’t see a regression in skills that comes after the program ends and athletes forget what they were taught and how to perform those skills and drills.

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Interesting view points.. but you still give nothing in (in your emails) concrete as for drills or workouts. You seem to keep trying to justify your ideas as oppose to ‘old school’ or what most coaches do. Why is that?
– Robert Y.

I justify what I do compared to what others do to point out that ‘old school’ training doesn’t work and is not safe.

One of the biggest problems I find with some coaches and athletes is the need (and sometimes demand) for workouts. However, every program, sport, athlete and age group has different demands and so there is no ‘one size fits all’ workout or program. In the 7 part series I sent you, I tried to provide a foundation of information for you to develop your particular program around. To throw in cookie cutter workouts in many ways could do more harm than good.

A truly involved coach, parent or trainer is going to take the information contained in Complete Speed Training and build a program around the concepts, drills, cues and progressions that I lay out. This program is going to fit the specific needs of their particular team, son, daughter or group. Because I know you’ll have questions about how to do this, I give you a free 30 minute consultation with me so that you can ask absolutely any questions that you come up with while watching the videos.

Taking advantage of that phone consult is highly recommended and is always a valuable learning experience for anyone who does use it. This is the best way to guarantee that your athletes get faster, more explosive and stay healthy.

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Hi my name is Mariette M. I have a quick question to ask you. I love to run and since track and feild is only in the spring in my school is it okay if I am in cross country over the fall. I am worried that if I get used to a slow pace I won’t be able to run as fast as I usually can. Also can I play other sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, and other sports like that. If not what can I do other than that? Please try to write back when and if you get the time.
– Mariette M.

That’s a very complicated question as you presented it. If you run the mile or 2 mile than cross country is great. If you run the100 and 200 then cross country is not what you’re looking for. At the high school level of track and field, both coaches and athletes get quite confused about what being ‘in shape’ means. Being in shape to run a fast 200 and being in shape to run a fast mile are two wildly different things. The most important thing to think about when answering this question is simply to look at the demands of the events you compete in. If you run events that require a great deal of speed, then competing in a sport that involves a great deal of endurance is only going to limit your speed. You can’t get fast by running slow.

If you’re playing all those other sports, then you don’t really have the time to train specifically for track. Remember practices and competitions in other sports still count as training and will get you in shape. If you are a sprinter and/or jumper, I’d say that those other sports will help you get into ‘track shape’ much better than running cross country.

If you really want to maximize your success at any sport, you need to develop your overall athletic ability. In particular this means specifically training and developing your speed, strength, flexibility, coordination and conditioning. You can play different sports all day and all night, but unless you develop the overall athletic ability that facilitates improvements in your ability to run faster, jump higher, and hit harder, then you have a very limited opportunity to improve.

Multisport athletes need to focus on becoming a better overall athlete. Developing your all around skill will carry over to every sport. That’s why the best athletes usually excel at multiple sports.

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Thank you for the tips! I used to think body circuits is onlyused for persons who want to lose weight, and that it had no genuine value to sports people. My back muscles are very weak – do you perhaps have some advice for me on how to strengthen my back muscles?
– Monique

Not at all! I love to use bodyweight circuits with young athletes who aren’t ready for the weightroom, as recovery work between speed days, as strength and conditioning workouts for in season and athletes who only have time to work out a couple of days a week. I also use them as endocrine system development, overall work and aerobic capacity work for athletes (particularly track and field athletes) at the High School level when I don’t have time for a long Preparation Period due to the short high school season. Circuits are a jack of all trades workout and a great substitute for boring low intensity running workouts.

To strengthen your back there are many things you can do. Stationary exercises while in the prone position such as cobras (picking just your upper body off the floor) and supermans (picking up torso and lifting thighs off the floor
at the same time) will isolate the muscles of the lower back.

On top of that, participating in a well designed strength training program will also improve back strength. Foundational exercises like squats and deadlifts develop great lower back strength and I traditionally use chin ups and pull ups as a supplemental exercise as well.

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If 2 sprinters with the same technique ran a race then the stronger sprinter would always win. He would be able to apply more force to the ground thus winning the race.
Somehow / somewhere there’s a missing ingredient becausethe stronger runner isn’t always winning the race. Case in point Randy Moss verses Terrell Owens, muscular structure indicates that Owen should be much faster than Moss but he isn’t, it’s quite the opposite. There’s somethingmissing in all this. What could be that missing link?
– Reggie F

First, your statement is only true if the 2 sprinters are clonesof each other, where all other componants outside of strengthare equal.

Second, we shouldn’t confuse musculature with strength. A body builder mentality still reigns supreme in American sports even though such mass is not necessarily required for athletic success. Former 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery never had a particularly impressive physique, but still ran under 9.8 seconds for 100 meters. In these cases it is often about such variables as the amount of fast twitch muscle fiber a particular athlete has as well as the innate ability to provide large amplitudes of force over an extremely small period of time. Remember, the more mass specific force you apply to the ground, the less your ground contact time. Therefore, you must be able to deliver that payload of force in an increasingly smaller amount of time. Athletes who have the ability to do so will, all other things being equal (and even not equal) will run faster.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean stronger from the standpoint of recruitment and firing of motor units within the ‘running muscles’ in the legs and glutes. So Randy Moss may have a greater innate ability to apply larger amounts of mass specific force to the ground in X amount of ground contact time than TO even if TO is bigger and potentially stronger. But just because TO looks bigger in no way means his strength levels are appreciably greater than Randy Moss. It’s just the body builder mindset that trick people into believing that has to be the case.

For more information on mass specific force and the ‘missing link’ on the relationship between speed, size and strength,check out this great article from speed expert Barry Ross.
Barry Ross is the former strength coach of Alison Felix, USHigh School National Record Holder and Olympic Silver Medalistat 200 meters:
http://www.completespeedtraining.com/cmd.php?ad=275997

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What type of warm ups should be done daily?
-Dale and Fatima W.

A dynamic warmup should be the foundation of your daily warm up. This means progressing from low intensity movements to higher intensity drills and active stretches.

However, don’t do the same thing every day. On speed days, our warmups are much longer, more intense and ‘speed drill’ focused than on our recovery days and conditioning days whereoften times the warmup is a major part of the workout itself.

The most effective means of warming up on your speed and recovery days is, of course, covered in detail in the first DVD of the Complete Speed Training Program, Pre-Competition.

For more information about our Complete Speed Training program, click the link below:
http://www.completespeedtraining.com

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