5 Speed Training Mistakes
If you are an athlete in your offseason now is the time to get faster! If you’re not seeing drastic speed improvements over the course of an off-season you could be making these common speed training mistakes. I want to share some of the solutions we provide at Genesis for athletes that have hit a speed plateau due to the most common speed training mistakes.
1. Choppy strides – We see this often with athletes that look like they are moving fast, but when we time their sprint with the laser they measure slow. When an athlete is taking too many choppy steps they are compromising the amount of horizontal force they drive into the ground with each step. Powerful strides propel the body FORWARD. Choppy steps propel the body VERTICALLY, which leads to poor acceleration. The solution is resisted sprinting in the form of sleds, run rockets, and hill sprints. An athlete will not be able to take small strides when they are towing resistance behind them.
2. Over striding- Elongated strides are just as detrimental to sprint performance as choppy strides. When an athlete over strides their foot lands in front of their hip and knee creating a negative shin angle. A negative shin angle essentially results in a braking force. In order to sprint fast athletes, need positive shin angles. The solution to over striding is overspeed training with a band, treadmill, or slightly declined surface. If we speed the athlete up through overspeed training, they will be forced to increase their stride frequency thus eliminating the elongated strides.
3. Focusing too much on technique- Sprint technique is important however I see far too many coaches wasting valuable time with wall drills, a-skips, and form drills that never lead to an increase in speed. The problem is these drills are performed in the absence of maximal sprinting. Many athletes simply cannot carry over the form that they learned in the static position. Most of the time mechanics problems do not arise from a misunderstanding of technique but rather a physical inability to hit the shapes that are associated with elite sprinting mechanics. Rather than performing static sprint drills, using a sprint constraint can immediately improve form. For example, let’s say an athlete is having trouble with knee drive. Instead of placing the athlete on the wall and having them drive their knee up, we can use a simple constraint by having the athlete sprint with a medicine ball at their chest with the cue to hit the medicine ball with their knees.
4. Not Enough Maximal Sprinting- Maximal speed sprinting is the greatest stimulant to the central nervous system. Athletes can do all the “sprint-specific” drills in the world if they are not max speed sprinting they are limiting their ability to get faster. Frequent micro-dosing of full speed sprints throughout an off-season will make an athlete significantly faster.
5. Turning your speed work into conditioning- The central nervous system must recover in between bouts of sprint work in order to ensure each sprint is performed maximally. If an athlete is fatigued during sprint training, they are no longer increasing their speed but instead conditioning. A good rule of thumb is taking 1:00 between every 10 yards travelled for recovery between sprints.
This is a short list of some of the most common speed training mistakes that we hear of outside our facility. If you are looking for guided speed training this off-season one of our professional, speed certified coaches can help you with your goals. Schedule a consult today at one of our 3 locations in Indianapolis, Carmel, or Madison Indiana. https://www.genesissportsperformance.com/contact-us