Smarts Ways to Develop Speed
Football is a demanding sport. The very best players are tough, smart, and strong. They have the fundamentals down pat, to a point where they don’t have to think about them. But one factor that is essential to the success of any defensive back is speed.
Speed will allow you to keep up with and cover the best opposing wide receivers. It can be the difference between a win and a loss for your team. If you are competing for a spot on a college or professional team, scouts may even look at your speed (40-yard dash times) when making a scholarship/draft selection or negotiating your salary.
Defensive backs simply must make speed training a top priority. Along with regular defensive back-specific drills and exercises, you need to incorporate the workouts below into your regular routine.
Technique Is Everything
Technique is everything. This applies both on the football field and while you are training. In speed training, perfect practice makes perfect. Focus on getting the most out of each exercise. This is the key to increasing your speed and agility where it matters – on the football field.
Develop a Solid Base
When you first embark on a speed training routine, the majority of your early workouts should be focused on developing a solid base. Work on getting the basics down as far as sprinting technique and mechanics go. Strive to improve your strength and overall flexibility along with speed.
Developing a solid base starts with flexibility. You need to be flexible and mobile to improve your speed. Start your workouts with plenty of stretching (both static and dynamic) before working on technique drills and sets of sprints (at about 80%).
One exercise in particular that you should focus on is 20-yard bursts. They are short – but so is the distance you normally run for a play in a football game. This exercise works your quads and glutes and gives your hamstrings a rest.
Running stairs is another great exercise to add into your overall workout. Doing this at a slightly slower pace than a normal sprint helps you build muscle and endurance that will help you improve your overall speed down the road.
Transition to High Intensity Sprints
After around three months of working on the basics of sprinting technique, you can begin to phase out the slower paced sprints and replace them with higher-intensity sprints.
It is important to still stick with plenty of stretching and technique drills as you begin to incorporate high-intensity sprints (90% – 100%) into your workouts. Add in more stairs workouts (and up their intensity) as well.
Work In Resistance Exercises
As you progress through speed training for football, it is essential that you start to work in resistance exercises.
Resistance exercises will help you build strength while your body is working at high speeds. Unlike the weight room, using power sleds, weighted vests, and speed parachutes will help you learn to use your full strength at the high speed the game of football is played at.
Take It Slow
Even as you progress and begin to develop improved speed and strength, you need to take your workouts slowly. Never forget to properly stretch and warm up before beginning your speed training workouts. It is also essential that you never push yourself beyond your current capabilities. Leg muscles are very sensitive and over training them (and not giving them time to recover) is likely a recipe for injury.
Speed Training Workouts for Football
Speed is an important skill for football players of every position to work on. Receivers, running backs, and defensive backs especially need to incorporate speed training into their regular workout routines. Use the tips and advice above as a solid base to get started and to become a more well-rounded football player.
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