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How to put together a speed clinic

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2 Day Structured Speed Clinic – Part 1

With the summer coming, there is no better time to run a speed clinic. Athletes are looking for the best way to improve their speed so they can explode onto the scene in the fall and create a memorable year. Running speed camps are definitely profitable, but also remember that you can reach more athletes and help out many more people by putting on a clinic then you can performing one-on-ones.

The more specific you can gear the speed drills to the athletes sport, the better. Here, from start to finish, is an outline for a 2 day Speed Clinic guaranteed to be successful.

Day 1
Introduction – Go over your brief bio, but remember the athletes are there because they want to get faster as soon as possible and don't really care about who you are and who you have trained. Stay focused on how increasing the athletes speed will have a huge carry over to their performance in their sport.

I. Dynamic Warm-up
Loose skip
Lunge w/ hamstring
Backwards loose skip
Lateral lunge
Side shuffle
Leg circles
Side shuffle
Lunge w/ twist
Leg swings (front & lateral)
Skips for height

The warm up exercises should be structured from the most basic, low intensity exercises and should progress through to the more complex movements that simulate the speeds athletes will be moving during practice and competition.

II. Speed Drills
Backwards run
Fast leg
Accelerations 4x30m

With the speed drills, you can break down running technique into 'parts'. Give cues so the athletes can focus on the purpose of each drill.

III. Acceleration Drills

1) Partner 'March' (4×10 meters)
2) Partner March and Release (resist and release at 10
meters then run for 20 meters)

The Partner Marching drills are to teach body angles for starting positioning so the athlete can feel the correct position. A common mistake is for the athlete to bend or break at the hips. Make sure that there is a straight line from the support leg's ankle all the way to their head.

Other Acceleration Cues:
* Drive the lead arm (same as front leg) up as you
begin to sprint.
* Drive out so the body is at a 45 degree angle to
the ground.
* Keep the heel recovery low during the first
6-8 strides. Think about 'running on hot coals' to get
an idea of how your heels should be recovering.
* Step over the opposite knee and drive the foot
down into the ground to create maximal force. During
acceleration, the foot should strike directly below or
slightly behind the hips.

IV. Arm Action

Perform arm action drills to teach the 'cheek to cheek' movement. This drill will allow the athletes to rest a little but it is also a great set-up exercise to help enforce relaxation that will be touched upon in the next section.

V. Max Velocity

Explain what maximum velocity (top end speed) is and why it is important in their specific sport. Use either fly 30's or Ins & Outs to stress the importance of relaxing while running.

1) Fly 20's
Place a cone at the starting line, at 15y, at 35y and at 55y. Accelerate hard to the first cone (15y). Maintain the speed you have generated by running relaxed and following the maximum velocity cues from 15 – 35y. Once you hit 35y, slowly decelerate for the next 20y coming to a full stop at the last cone.

2).Ins & Outs
Place a cone at the starting line, 15y, 25y, 35y, 45y and at 65y. Accelerate hard to the first cone (15y). Maintain a hard sprint for 10y, focusing on maintaining the speed and intensity created during acceleration. Once you hit the next cone (25y) go into a float by easing back in intensity (don't try to continue to get faster) without losing any speed. At the next cone (35y) go back to a hard sprint, running at full intensity and trying to increase your speed. At the next cone (45y), shut down by slowly coming to a stop. You should not be at a complete stop before the final cone at 65y, giving you a full 25 yards to slowdown.

VI. Plyometrics

1) Double Leg Hop – Stabilization
2) Lateral Double Leg Hop – Stabilization
3) Single Leg Hops – Stabilization
4) Lateral Single Leg Hops – Stabilization

Your athletes must learn how to stabilize and absorb forces appropriately. The key is to land softly and absorb the forces created with the muscles (not the joints!). If you are landing quietly then you are probably on the right path. If we jump right into single leg bounds or depth jumps, without the proper progression, then we are putting our bodies at risk for avoidable injury.

Due to the intensity (they place a high demand on the central nervous system) and the need for correct form, they can cause injuries when not performed correctly. Plyometric exercises should be learned progressively, starting with two foot jumping and landing exercises (box jumps), then moving to stabilization work (single leg box jump), then finally moving to more complicated multi-jumps (double and single leg hurdle hops). Since we do not know the ability of all the clinic
participants, you should just teach how to jump and land correctly.

VII. Break

During the break go over the importance of Nutrition and provide handouts.

VIII. Strength
Importance, misconceptions, techniques in the weight room (if accessible)

Sprinting is all about force production/application. Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces. You need to get stronger in order to be able to apply more force. The more force you can produce and the more efficient you are at producing that force, the faster you will be.

IX. Flexibility – Hurdle Mobility
1). Walkovers
2). Lateral
3). Holds
4). Over 2 Back 1
5). Over/Unders
6). Snake

Part II will come next week and I will cover Day 2 of the structured two day speed clinic that I use myself for my camps.


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