Speed Training Drills of Champions

speed training drills

When I talk about speed training drills, I am referring to you practicing a set of technical movements or skills related to sprinting until they becomes second nature. For me, “drills” means to practice or rehearse.

These sprinting skills are the broken down movements of the whole sprint cycle and as the saying goes “practice makes permanent” – therefore what ever you practice must also be technically correct.

So, to be clear, this article is not about the building of the sprinting engine (conditioning workout) with which you will sprint. It is all about how the engine looks. Once you have a well designed engine, it will also add to the power of that engine. Other pages on this site will deal with engine building part of the equation.

The following are two form or technical speed training drills and a drill designed to improve quickness and agility. They have all proved themselves worthy over a long period of time...

“A” Skips

The drill has two purpose first it functions as a stabilizing drill for the hip and core regions. These speed training drills mimics the tall running position that you would like to see in the maximum speed phase in sprinting. And secondly, help the athlete feel the high knee position required for good sprinting.

  • The drill is usually performed over 20m-40m
  • The athlete skips across the ground while driving the thighs to parallel position to the ground
  • An upright posture is maintained throughout the drill, don’t sit or pike into parallel thigh position
  • You should use your arms as in proper sprinting

Alternate High Knee Pick-ups

This speed training drill helps the athlete to practice the recovery and front mechanics phase of the sprint cycle.

  • The drill is performed over 20m-30m
  • The drill is performed by lifting the thigh very quickly to a parallel position every third step.
  • The Rhythm of the drill should sounds like dada da, dada da).

Technical points to consider are:

  • The dada strides are short and quick with the feet hardly getting off the ground
  • The high knee pick-up is snappy and sharp keeping the feet under the knee as the thigh is lifted
  • You should use your arms as in proper sprinting
  • An upright posture should be maintained throughout the drill, don’t sit or pike into high knee pick-up segment
  • Keep your center of mass high as you extend the thigh down and make contact with the ground with your feet

Forward/Lateral Mini Hurdle Runs

This drill is designed to bring together all the elements of quickness and agility in one drill and will add to the tool box of some of the speed training drills and routines else where on this site.

  • You will need 22 mini hurdles (15-30cm height)
  • Set out 10 hurdles in a straight line, 3-4 foot length apart
  • At the end of the 10th hurdle, go forwards another 3 foot length and then …
  • Set out a further 6 hurdles with 3-4 foot spaces to the left and to the right

What you should have now is a group of hurdles set out in a “T” shape.

The Drill

  • You should run over each of the mini hurdles going forwards, using quick snappy steps.
  • At the end of the tenth hurdle, run laterally over the 6 hurdles to the left.
  • At the end of that segment and without a pause, sprint forward for 10-15 meters.

This constitutes one repetition. You should repeat this drill again but going forward and to the right. A total of 12 repetitions can be done in 2 sets of 6 repetitions.

Technical points to consider are:

  • Don’t flex too much at the hip as you run over the hurdles
  • Maintain a toe up position of the foot
  • Reach down to the ground on each step i.e. don’t sit into the running position and extend at the knee down to the floor.

Try them out and enjoy...


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