If you are following this blog, then you probably knew that a few weeks ago I spoke at the Ohio NSCA State Clinic. My topic was how to create a complete speed training program for a high school team. Speed is always sought after by high school coaches and I think when they implement it to their sports teams, they don’t do it as effectively as they could.
The presentation was well received by the attendees. When I looked at my evaluations, they were mostly positive. But, there were a couple of comments (constructive criticism nothing scathing) that I wanted to discuss here to explain why I approached this topic the way I did.
But, first let me summarize my complete speed training program for you so you have a little background on the presentation.
I don’t think we have to make speed training more complicated than what seem people might already believe. To run faster, you need to improve two areas: running mechanics and strength. If those two areas are improved, then chances are you will have a faster athlete.
So, the trick is to implement these two areas into your program so that you are maximizing the use of your time and not spending 3 hours at the school training your high school team.
First, I talked about your strength program. There are a lot of effective strength programs out there and I’m not here to nit-pick which one is the best. Pick one that will work well for your high school team. The only thing I would suggest would be to add these exercises:
- Olympic Lifts
- Hamstring Exercises
- Single Leg Strengthening Exercises
You do whatever you want with your exercise program to get them bigger and stronger, but if you also add those lifts in, you will really optimize your program for speed development. I think your workout sessions for strength should last 45 – 60 minutes. Focus on quality, not quantity.
Your speed sessions will either be 2 or 3 times a week, but they will begin with a 10 minute dynamic warm-up and combination form drills. Use some of your form drills in the warm-up to save time.
Then proceed to your power development: either plyometrics or resistance running. Follow that up with acceleration drills, agility drills (to work on lateral development), and conditioning (whatever you can dream up). The total time of your speed session with conditioning should take no more than 45 minutes.
Combine that with your strength training and you will have a total time of a little more than an hour and a half. Shorter than most teams practices. You can get the athletes in and out so they can start recovering.
Two comments I received on my evaluations that I want to address are the following:
Not enough lateral agility. I tried to explain this during my presentation, but I’ll hope to do a better job here. I don’t feel you need to spend 20 minutes on agility drills. I’ve found with high school athletes, if you can improve their speed and overall athleticism, the lateral quickness will improve as well.
It seems to be tougher to develop the linear speed than the lateral speed, so spend the necessary time for the straight-away speed and just touch on the lateral quickness. What I’ve found really helps is when we do plyometrics, we also will do lateral jumps. I think this helps the power to get them quicker for their lateral quickness.
If these were professional athletes, maybe we spend more time on the lateral quickness. High school athletes just need to develop the overall athleticism and I feel if speed is improved it will affect the lateral quickness enough to be dangerous at the high school level.
The program is too basic. I know the program is basic. It is that way for a purpose. If people are going to pay me money to get their athletes faster in a private setting, then I can afford to spend the time developing the right type of periodization for that athlete. High school coaches don’t necessarily need that.
Give them something that is simple and reproducable for their team. As long as it gets results, then they are happy. Give them a few rules to go by so they know what to look for and then let them follow the program.
If it is too in depth, they might not apply the program properly. Then they would be doing more harm than good. Remember the KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid.
Like I stated earlier, most people really had positive remarks for the presentation. Which is good for you. At some point, I’m going to be selling the video of my presentation to you. I think it can be invaluable to your speed program. But for now, enjoy the blog and I’ll talk with you soon.