When I first started studying speed development even I
was uncomfortable with the idea of resting at least
3 minutes after something as short as a 30 meter sprint.
Because like most athletes, past and present, I was
trained mainly doing interval work.
Lots and lots of it. So I wasn’t used to fancy concepts
So I’m often asked what coaches and athletes are supposed
to be doing during the recovery time between reps
of acceleration work, fly runs, speed endurance, etc.
This is a critical time during the training session.
It is your opportunity to give and get feedback from your
athletes regarding their understanding of the skills you
are focused on for that day.
Before each training session you must explain
what the goal of the workout is, why you’re doing it
and what you want athletes to work on.
Otherwise you can’t expect the workout to accomplish much.
At first, when athletes don’t know anything at all, I
give all the feedback. I just want them to think about
what I’m saying, try it during each repetition and then
I’ll tell them what I think.
After a couple workouts you’ll notice athletes starting
to nod their heads when you give feedback and even start
to tell you what they felt before you say a word.
That’s when you start asking them for feedback.
It can be as general as ‘how did that feel?’
Their responses, at first, will be vague and nondescript.
So keep asking questions to pull more info out of them.
After a while they’ll be able to give great feedback. Not
only will they acquire the skills faster, but they’ll
be able to start making adjustments on the fly and serve
as assistant coaches when you’re somewhere else working
with a different group.
For me, the rest between repetitions is the busiest and
most stressful part of the workout.
Because you have to watch a kid run, save the replay of
that file in your head, play it back in your mind in order
to give and get feedback and then quickly do it again
and again and again.
When you have 30 kids doing 10 reps and they expect
feedback after each one, it can get exhausting if
you’re not sure of what you’re talking about.
Because once kids start to figure out there’s more to
running fast than just mindlessly running workouts, they
won’t leave you alone….
If they think you know what you’re talking about.
Because if you just blow smoke up their asses they’ll
know. You may think you’re fooling them but you are not.
If a coach is just standing around making small talk
during the rest between reps, or just giving generic
feedback like ‘nice job’, ‘use your arms’ or ‘lift your
knees’ then they’re wasting an invaluable opportunity
to improve their athletes’ running skill.
Because for the coach, there is no down time on speed
The question is, do you know exactly what you’re supposed
to be teaching?
For the coaching cues, drills, exercises and progressions
that turn on the lightbulb in athletes’ heads and make
immediate improvements to their athletic skill: