Why is speed training so important for all athletes and sportspeople?
There are many sports (like track events) that need a lot of speed if you want to excel in them. Apart from track events, good speed is needed in all types of sports. In scientific terms, speed is the rate of motion, and it is usually related to running. The faster the sport person can move from one point to another, the better and potentially the more successful they will be.
It is true that you cannot alter your genetics, but with proper practice, you can enhance the five principle factors that affect your speed.
You cannot achieve complete speed training if you leave out strength training. Some basic level of strength is required in all sports. You cannot improve your speed if your body lacks strength. You can get the right kind of strength training program to increase your speed. You can try Olympic lifts to help you gain some explosive power. This is great for sprinting over short distances.
There are other core exercises like dead lifts and squats that build up leg strength. If they are combined with properly assisted lifts, a lot of leg strength can be gained, all these are good for speed training.
The core strength (back and abdominal muscles) of the body is also very important as these act as stabilizers for the legs to produce force. The upper body musculature around the shoulders is also important, as the rate at which the arms can pump forwards and backwards will affect sprinting ability.
If you are able to increase your acceleration, you can increase your speed to a large degree. You can use plyometric activities to develop your nervous system and musculature. Plyometrics will also help you to react quicker to any stimulus, and your muscles will respond by producing more force. This will enhance your explosive power, thus increasing the acceleration.
If you increase stride frequency or stride length, you can increase your speed across the ground. However, sprinting speed depends largely upon the stride length. Both plyometrics and strength training can increase the stride length. It is more difficult to increase stride frequency, but it can be improved by using the correct training methods i.e. neural training and by applying the correct running mechanics to the performer. In addition to the previous sentence, assisted running is one of the best ways to improve stride frequency.
Correct speed training techniques and mechanics can increase your speed. Such techniques as lifting the knees to increase range of movement and driving force, or shortening the lever of the leg in the recovery phase of the stride to increase stride frequency are some of the best ways to improve sprinting mechanics.
Most team sports activities require the athletes to change their direction quickly. If you have agility, you can change direction while maintaining your speed. Improving ones agility can boost your overall performance and improve co-ordination of movements.
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