The Speed Training Secret

Speed Training Coaching

I received this great question from a reader earlier this week:


"Hi Brian. When training young athletes 8 – 12, what are the most important concepts of speed and acceleration to teach or stress?"


The answer, my friends, is none of them…


… Well not really, anyways.


If I were to look solely at speed training and acceleration development with pre-adolescent athletes, my suggestion would be strength. Strength is an often forgotten variable in the speed and power equation and quite a critical component to the matrix of developing young athletes.


But the actual answer is deceleration skills.


To decelerate well means that you are in a position to re-accelerate effectively.


It means that you are likely one of the ‘fastest’ kids on the field (remember – it’s not who runs the fastest… it’s who can change direction quickest and with the most ease).


It means that you are likely injury-free (a combination of strength and quality mechanical understanding are the two greatest factors I have seen in terms of reducing the likelihood of knee and ankle injuries).


Now when teaching proper deceleration skills, it is critical that you move from Closed to Open Habits.


Closed Habits – skills being executed in a static environment.


Open Habits – skills that are adaptable to varying conditions and situations.


Closed Habits remove the external concerns of adjunct movement, opponents, teammates, speed and objects like a ball or puck.


In essence, Closed Habit skills are taught in the beginning stages of learning a given movement or series of movements.


For example, with my ‘Principles of Movement’ chapter and DVD in Complete Athlete Development (www.CompleteAthleteDevelopment.com) I show how to teach both linear and lateral deceleration skills starting with repeating the motion from a static environment.


Eventually, you move into more advanced variations of learning and mastering these skills, such as repeating them in harmony with a random cueing from a coach or trainer.


At this level, the skills are known as Open Habits.


It is the progression of learning quality deceleration skills that make young athletes truly ‘fast’, ‘quick’ and ‘agile’.


Not the answer you were looking for on speed training, perhaps



4 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    I agree with you whole heartedly regarding this. So many times people get caught up with the faster faster syndrome and forget that athletes need to be able to control their body to move more efficiently. Also, better body control and stability means less chance for injury.Start simple and progress from there. No need to be in such a rush that steps get skipped.

  2. Kevin O'Brien says:

    Brian Grasso does it again. Great read Brian…very good stuff!

  3. SoCal Brian says:

    I have always been a trainer that believes in the lin/lat and transitional movement training principles. I think form is a big part of the game speed process but with linear/lateral and start/stop training there is a degree of correct form necessary to be successful. Training this way you command such body control and when performed correctly I believe you will be a more effective straight ahead runner! In other words . . . I AGREE!!!

  4. Yeah this seems at first very counterintuitive – Great insight here –

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