Six Keys to Improve Your Speed Training (1/2)

I often have conversations with many coaches in the industry each week.  Most of these guys are former teammates that work in the industry or people i've met over the years at different clinics and events. Always the conversation eventually turns to how to make their in-house speed training program more effective. After talking with dozens of coaches and looking at what is happening all over the country, I have come up with six keys to increasing the effectiveness of any speed training program.  Of course not all of these keys are "mine" as I have no problem stealing borrowing great ideas from brilliant coaches who are my friends.


If your athletes don’t have an understanding of why they are doing a drill, there is a good chance they are thinking of it as torture or punishment. It is up to you to explain the purpose of a drill so the athletes fully understand how it impacts performance. Typically, this will motivate an athlete to work harder because they will understand how their hard work will pay off in the game. It also helps you, the coach, choose drills that will actually benefit the athletes. Often times I see coaches set up cones, ladders etc and simply put the athlete through the drill with no explanation. Now I'm not saying the coach needs to spend forever explaining a drill, especially to young athletes.  Young athletes don't have the longest attention spans as you know:)  But wasting words drives me crazy too.  A short and concise explanation should suffice when running a drill;

1. What are we doing (5-15 second intro)

2. How to do it (10-20 seconds)

3. Special things to consider to make the drill most effective (10-20 seconds)

If you don't have most of the point across by now then your communication was ineffective.

Focus on Mechanics

I have two thoughts on this:
1.  Allowing your athletes to do speed drills with faulty movement patterns is like a gold pro watching his student hit ball after ball with terrible flaws in his swing. Athletes practice sport skills all the time.  However rarely are they taught how to move properly; they are just expected to know how. But if someone has never been taught how to do something, how are they expected to just "know" how to do it? Basic shuffling, back pedeling, acceleration mechanics, deceleration mechanics, change of direction mechanics, cross over, pivoting, cutting etc are all the building blocks of moving efficiently.  We call this Movement Training.  Simple right?

2. This brings me to point two.  About a month ago my 9 year son Max started taking a keen interest in the game of Basketball.  Of course the coach in me wanted to help out.  I studied some drills I found on Youtube and off to the school basket we went. We practiced driving to the hoop, first step, 'curvy' acceleration, deceleration and change of direction, shooting.

The works.
We would do multiple sessions each day of 30-40 minute practices.  We always ended with a fun game or drill. Last week I watched him play hockey. He was better.  He could change direction better and was more "shifty". It was weird to see.  We weren't trying to improve his hockey agility by practicing basketball drills.  But it did help.  Massively. implementing Movement Training concepts into your speed training program your athletes will always end up farther ahead.

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