Exercise Programs For Kids Speed Training
One of my favorite things to teach, both to young athletes as well as
Coaches, is the mechanics of speed.
Deceleration techniques specifically.
And that’s because speed is seldom taught as a skill at all.
Usually, the ‘speed work’ of a training session consists of some hurdles,
cones, sprinting and ‘plyo’ exercises with little attention being paid to
form or function.
Simply put, we don’t often TEACH speed and respect it in the way we
Young athletes can (and should) be taught how to become faster and
more efficient from a movement perspective.
And in order to do that correctly, you must have a progressive system
in place that allows them to learn.
I always teach speed by instructing on the skill of deceleration first -
and I teach that from both a lateral and linear perspective.
Here’s my overview for teaching the skill of lateral deceleration for Exercise Programs For Kids:
Skill: Lateral Deceleration
Firstly, break key points down into skill sets that are easy to remember so that kids can recite them both to you and to
themselves (this makes teaching and cuing much simpler). I have four points I want my athletes to learn/know/commit to
memory with respect to lateral deceleration:
- Bend your knees and drop your hips
- Be on a flat foot or slightly on the ball of the foot
- The toe/foot of the decelerating leg should be square to the angle of the body (i.e. not out)
- The foot placement should be outside the box (the ‘box’ is a reference to an invisible line drawn from the shoulder to the floor. Any placement outside of that line is good; within or too close to the line will result in a poor deceleration and potential injury)
Have the kids understand each of these items individually and then in conjunction with each other.
These represent the first three of my progressive steps:
Repeat Statically – have the athletes assume an athletic position or stance. From here, they will ‘hit’ the decelerating position upon command. Be patient with this step and make sure all your athletes are comfortable and competent with the motion. Add fun to this by calling out different legs unpredictably.
Repeat Dynamically – when you feel your athletes are ready, have them perform one or two moderately paced side shuffles prior to ‘hitting’ the decelerating position. The side shuffles should be slow and easy. At this point, you will begin to ascertain if further teaching is necessary (it likely will be). With the additional movement prior to the deceleration, a common mistake you will see is athletes not planting their foot outside of the box far enough. This results in a poor alignment and a less than satisfactory deceleration (even at these slow speeds). My colleague, Lee Taft, calls this a shoulder sway (because the shoulders lean towards the decelerating leg rather than sitting back in a ‘braking’ type position). I love this term and reflects what the actual concern looks like.
Repeat Randomly – Now that the athletes are comfortable with the motion, create games and situations within which they react to a particular signal and move (unpredictably) different directions. On your ‘point’ for example, the athlete will take one or two moderately paced side shuffles and then ‘hit’ a deceleration. Have them hold the position so that both you and them can ascertain what is right and wrong with their posture.
By layering in skill slowly like this and teaching it in a sequential manner,
you ensure that your young athletes are learning the technique at a rate
consistent with there ability to apply it functionally on the field of play.
My Complete Athlete Development training system contains the entire
speed training system I’ve used when working with more than 15,000
young athletes worldwide.
Complete with sample programs, templates and DVD’s that explain the
concept, Complete Athlete Development is an ideal resource for you
when working with young athletes.
I’ve prepared a video for you to see just how powerful the system is -
Till Next Time,