Speed is the most potent athletic quality that can separate elite athletes from the rest. Strength and speed are the most effective combination for athletic dominance, together they equal power. SPEED KILLS is the saying but what does that really mean? When athletes are young, how is it that some are so much faster than others? Speed is a concept that most athletes understand they need but how do they build it? We will discuss how strength training and speed training go hand in hand and how simple practice of basic speed skills as well as strength are the main ways for young athletes to unlock their speed potential at an early age.
A key concept for coaches and parents to understand is the strength – speed spectrum. On one end is Strength, the other Speed. So what’s in the middle? POWER. We will discuss power in a later blog post but for now just think of it as the combination of strength and speed. When working to build more speed, athletes must increase their rate of force development aka fast twitch muscle fiber aka quickness. Athletes must practice jumping and sprinting often to develop their rate of force development. The easiest ways for young athletes to begin doing this is by jumping rope for 3-5 minutes daily and working on sprinting technique as often as 2-3x weekly. If an athlete can do these two things consistently, they will get faster in a matter of weeks. If they do these things along with a strength routine they will become dramatically faster within a few months due to their force production going up from strength training and their rate of force development going up due to the speed training.
Training is the key to athlete development of force and velocity. When it comes to speed, technique and practice are the most important for young athletes. A simple routine to have athletes ages 12-15 do is 3-5 minutes of jump rope + 3-5 rounds of 20-40 second sprints with 3-5 minutes rest between. We have these types of training routines built into our custom system, which is ideal for athletes to develop strength, speed, conditioning, and mobility all at once. As athletes get older they will develop mentally and physically enough to begin training with more complex concepts such as squatting heavy, deadlifting heavy, and training advanced plyometric movements.