How To Shape Speed Training – Part 1

Speed Training

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??


Why are thousands of Coaches and Trainers worldwide raving?


Find out here —–>  http://YouthSpeedSpecialist.com/


– Brian



7 Responses

  1. Efrem says:

    This is great, I’m gonna offer this site to our football program for the coaches, as a resource. It contains some very valuable information and I know the coaches and the kids could benefit from it.

  2. Raj Thompson says:

    Coaching youth the developmental skills needed to become a better athlete is a skill not used nowadays. How many you have perfect mechanics when it comes to running, change of direction, or lateral movement? Most coaches are infatuated with the athleticism that they forget about the basics. Coaches need to get back to the basics when it comes to developing young athletes. Every movement pattern can be progressed or regressed based on the skills of the youth. I believe every child can develop a base as far as becoming athletic but some learn quicker than others. I don’t believe that children should work with weights until they have the balance necessary to perform certain lifts. Bodyweight training s a good start for youth until they grow into teenage years and at least they have strength and balance to perform a power clean, squat or any other olympic lift.

  3. Prof. Jorge Velez Pacheco says:

    Never i taked a course with Prof. Brian Grasso. But i read some articles of him and are intereresting. I take a correspondence course with Prof. Todddurkin and i learned too much with him about core exercises,dynamic flexibility,abs,plyometrics,agility,foot contacts,stretching,etc.He is an excellent trainer. Find http://www.todddurkin./com and yours are not repent of him. I saw excellents results with my sons.

    Prof.Jorge Velez Pacheco
    Personal Trainer IFPA,IFA
    Instructor of Physical Aptitud
    Track and Field Coach Youth
    Yauco,Puerto Rico

  4. Aaron Gillies says:

    The problem is that most football coaches, although knowing a bit about football strategy, know next to nothing about teaching movement skills. Now when Brian was talking about plasticity of the CNS, it must be acknowledged that something will happen and the CNS will make changes. The thing is to make the changes positive by engraining the correct movement behavior. Teaching the incorrect movement will also create changes in the CNS. This is why kids stomp when they run or have excessive elbow flexion and extension when they run, because somewhere along the line, the CNS was engrained to follow that pattern of execution.

  5. Aaron Gillies says:

    Although I must say Brian that I was reading “SuperTraining” by Mel Siff. Siff cites research stating that the CNS is plastic throughout the life time. Any thoughts on that? Perhaps you have come across similar research?

  6. Brian Grasso says:

    Hey All! Great comments! Raj…. Bodyweight-based strength training is critical, but in the IYCA model of development, we absolutely encourage Coaches to teach the specific aspects of force production, movement (etc) in complex lifts during the Exploration Phase (ages 11 – 13). Plasticity is high and in inverted set/rep schemes (i.e. 8 – 10 sets of 2 – 3 reps) we can ensure, through quality execution, that the neural pattern for precise lifting mechanices will be ingrained during this sensitive time. This is absolutely critical and something that more Coaches need to understand. Waiting until the teenage years to start lifting external loads is a mistake. Aaron… Of course, the human organism can and does learn over the course of a lifetime. Plasticity of the CNS is HIGHEST during the early years of life however, and therefore means that learning is most OPTIMAL during this timeframe. New skills learned later in life cannot ever be optimized. This is true of virtually everything – from brand new sports to language. Just think about how impossible it is for an adult to learn a brand new language and be able to speak it without any decernable accent. The CNS is plastic throughout life (which means it’s adaptable to new stimulus and can learn new things), but not optimally so. Thus the distinction. Thanks so much, guys! BG

  7. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:


    The CNS is DEFINITELY plastic across a lifetime, just less and differently so at later stages of life. But ask a stroke patient in recovery how plastic the brain is. It will actually remap to compensate for a lost area! Now, this is not a perfect process, but it happens quite readily. As an aside, the brain is a lot better at this than the spinal cord, due to the complexities and multiple functional overlaps in the brain.

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