by Wil Fleming
The other day a track coach that I really respect called me to discuss an athlete that we both work with and right away I knew he was excited. I could hear in his voice that he was just fired up. I asked him what was going on and he responded,
"Coach Flem I have to tell you the coolest thing, Anthony has gotten 3 feet faster just training with you this summer and fall. (meaning his long jump approach had to be moved back 3 feet on the same number of approach steps) What kind of speed work have you been doing?"
Honestly, the answer was very little, outside of some very short acceleration work, this athlete’s focus had been on improving his explosive strength recently.
So what’s the point of this story?
To brag? Only a little!
I truly think that this is one of the cooler parts about training athletes, but one that a lot of coaches miss. Training strength, speed, power etc are all complementary to one another. Too often coaches are "speed coaches" and someone else is a "strength coach", when truthfully we should all strive to be "performance coaches".
I think though that it takes an understanding of these relationships between speed, strength and power, as well as how to train athletes for each quality to become a great performance coach.
Of these 3 qualities the key thing to consider is power.
An athletes ability to produce greater levels of power will manifest itself in displays of strength as well as in displays of speed.
Producing power can help athletes power through a sticking point in a squat because they have a greater ability to accelerate the bar. Greater focus on producing power is vital to improving maximal strength.
Greater power increases an athlete’s ability to explosively extend the hip and increase both horizontal and vertical displacement while sprinting. Speed in sprinting is not the only way in which speed is impacted through increasing power. Studies have shown improvements in an athlete’s ability to change direction laterally with improvements in power metrics like the hang clean.
There is one thing though that most coaches are lacking that can benefit all aspects of an athlete’s performance. NUTRITION
Proper nutrition fuels an athletes need for strength, speed and power. For me, there is one product that has done a better job of explaining nutrition to me, and has made it easier than ever to explain nutrition to my athletes and that is:
Check it out and see for yourself how helpful it is to you and your athletes.
Wil Fleming is co-owner and Head Coach of Force Fitness & Performance, Fitness Revolution and Athletic Revolution in Bloomington, IN. Wil is also a member of the IYCA Board of Experts