Many articles, books and information products discuss the development of speed from its physiological perspective of bio-motor enhancement.
How to get athletes stronger so as to create more force production and absorption.
How many sets and reps are necessary in a given training program in order to elicit the greatest possible hypertrophic response.
How long should the rest times be between sprints or cone drills so as to ensure maximum recoverability.
These are all valid considerations and the purpose of this article is not to diminish their value.
The pursuit of lasting speed and movement enhancement with your athletes however, should not be reduced to learning and applying just the overviews of quality programming. There is a much larger picture to consider – and it requires a more long-term approach and keen eye from a coaching perspective.
I am referring to the process of assessing and shaping, or re-shaping, the means in which your athlete moves.
While the bio-motor aspects of enhancing speed training are incredibly valid and must be incorporated into a quality-rich training program, they also can be quite short-term in nature.
To say that an athlete increases their strength, force production/absorption and therefore speed output following a certain duration of applied training is a no-brainer.
The body will respond physiologically to meet the demands of a given stimulus. But once that stimulus ceases in its application (i.e. post training program), there is a natural and predictable de-training effect that must be respected as reality.
Shaping the quality of movement economy for your athlete however, can be a much more lasting change and therefore lead to a more long-term and consistent adhered response.
It consists of re-programming the CNS by creating positive habitual patterns of movement execution. In the young athlete, the CNS is plastic by nature – so if these habitual patterns are programmed early enough in the developmental training of a young athlete, they are ensured to become a lasting response.
The plasticity referred to above is a law of human development that states the young CNS to be an adaptable or shape-able commodity. If technique is taught and layered in via a progressive approach, the young athletes capacity to both learn and retain a certain skill or group of skills is extremely high from a lifetime consideration.
As the human body ascends chronologically, its capacity to learn, retain and reproduce given skills or abilities is greatly diminished – not impossible, but not nearly as lofty as in the pre-adolescent years.
That is why fundamental technique application and non-specificity must be the cornerstones of training young athletes as a whole not just when Speed Training
In order to begin shaping the movement capacity of an athlete or group of athletes, the most rudimentary variables of coaching must first be discussed. This may seem like elementary advice, but in the absence of defining the global behavior standards of your athletes, any efforts pertaining to enhancing speed and movement ability will be less than optimized.
… Part 2 coming up tomorrow.
Here’s a ‘sneak peak’:
- Aristocratic & Authoritarian Coaches
- The Teacher-Expectancy Effect
- Skill vs. Motivation
In the meantime, I have you checked out the #1 Speed Training Resource
on the planet??
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