Slow Down to Get Faster. Huh?

Posted: 11/03/2011 in Strength Training

At Peak One Performance we are extremely sensitive to the sequence of training. The central nervous systems of young athletes do not all develop at the same pace. You can have two athletes in the room of the same age and have very different and apparent abilities. That does not stop me from training them the same way. The steps are sequential and all athletes need to master each step in order and with proficiency before moving to the next step.

You may see the more developed CNS learn the movements in less time. However they still need to master the levels before moving on. Sounds like their favorite video game doesn’t it?

Let’s talk speed.

Producing fast and agile young athletes isn’t as easy as some people make it out to be.

But it’s not that hard or complex, either. Speed and agility isn’t about running on treadmills or
through ladders. It’s about teaching young athletes how to move, accelerate and decelerate properly.

All you have to understand is where to start. And that’s part of the problem.

Almost every Trainer and Coach I know talks about speed and agility from an ‘acceleration’ point of view.

How you can get your young athletes to move faster and hit top speed most quickly.
But the reality of speed and agility training is that DECELERATION skills are much more valuable and need to be taught and perfected first.

If a young athlete knows how to stop and change directions well, they are guaranteed to be the quickest player on the field or court.

Basketball players don’t run top speed in a straight line. Neither do football players, baseball players, soccer players, tennis players or volleyball players either.

To be good at any of those sports, athletes need to be able to get to a position quickly, make a play, decelerate, recover and change directions with quickness.

And you won’t ever develop those skills by simply ‘learning’ to run in a straight line or executing endless ladder and cone drills.  Teaching speed and agility is a matter of having a sensible
sequence of skills that young athletes can learn, master and perform with great technique.

It all starts with learning how to decelerate.

There are three basic types of deceleration:

a. Lateral (athletes moving from side to side)

b. Linear (athletes moving from front to back)

c. Angular (athletes moving in diagonal lines)

Think about the sporting application

Tennis players move laterally to make a shot.  Football players move in a linear way to take on a block.  Volleyball players move angularly to dig a ball or make a pass.  And there many even more sports that require athletes to decelerate in all 3 ways.
Teaching speed is not unlike teaching Math or English.  Before you can perform calculus, you need to know how to add.  Before you can write creative essays, you need to understand how to use commas and periods.

With speed and agility, BEFORE I start having young athletes go through ladder, cone or treadmill drills, I need to teach them how to decelerate well.

Once they have that down, you can teach them how to accelerate and reach top end speed


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