Need For Speed
Athletes are always looking to increase their speed. Simply put, one’s speed has a lot to do with how successful an athlete will be at his or her said sport. After all, who has ever heard of a successful slow athlete? In order to be the top dog of your sport, you must be quick.
While it true that some people are naturally quicker than others, speed can also be trained through a number of key performance exercises. There are many ways in which athletes can increase their speed depending on many attributes such as:
- Fitness level
- Training experience
- Body composition
For the average trained athlete, the quickest way to increase linear speed is through short sprints that are designed to improve one’s technique. Weight training is also a beneficial way to increase one’s speed and there are also many leaping and bounding plyometric drills that improve flexibility and mobility.
There are a number of routines that can help increase speed and agility, which will be discussed in this article. Prior to trying these exercises it is important for athletes to realize that fast and agile training can be hard on the body.
Not only do one’s muscles need time to recover but also so does the overall central nervous system, which controls motor responses to sensory stimulus in the body.
As such, it is important to have at least 48 hours rest between high intensity training days so that your body has time to recover.
All athletes can benefit from agility drills to help improve coordination, speed, power and specific sports skill. Let’s take a look at some of the best drills to perfect your foot speed and refine your sports technique.
Lateral Plymometric Jumps
A jump that helps build dynamic power, coordination and balance, the lateral plymometric jump is able to achieve this by using an athlete’s body weight. This advance exercise is a must for any athlete that needs lateral power and coordination. One should start small with this exercise and slowly build up the height of the barrier.
The shuttle run is a standard agility and speed drill that is used by many professional athletes who play stop-and-go sports such as soccer, hockey, basketball and tennis. This drill works by first setting up a source with two markers about 25 yards apart. One must sprint from one marker to the other and back. This counts as one repetition.
There are a variety of different ways to do the shuttle run, including side-to-side runs, forward-backward runs and forward-touch-return runs. Using the shuttle is an effective way to add some high intensity drills into a basic exercise program while still building speed, stamina and endurance.
Plyometric Box Jumps
A great way to build explosive power and foot speed, plyometric box jumps include hops, jumps and bounding movements and require the use of at least one box. In a different variation of the drill, one can even jump off of one box and rebound off the floor onto another larger box. This exercise helps increase speed and strength while building power at the same time.
Through sprint training one is able to develop foot speed and agility that will be sure to help improve one’s game in any sport. First setting up two markers about 10 yards apart will help get this exercise on its way. After a good warm up, one should sprint forward from the first cone to the far cone. Once at the far cone, one should stop and run or jog backwards to the start. Upon reaching the start, the runner should stop and quickly accelerate in a sprint back to the far cone.
Get Up, Get Down
As one can see, there are numerous speed and agility exercises that can help improve one’s overall athleticism. In this article, we’ve only scratched the surface as there are a number of additional exercises that can also be performed.
That said, the aforesaid exercises discussed here are an excellent starting point. One will be sure to see a difference in his or her performance as long as one puts in the time and dedication to succeed!
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