Sports including football, basketball, and tennis require competitors to perform numerous sprints from a standing start during the course of a game. Speed training drills are essential in these instances as pure speed is not by itself sufficient to thrive. What is vital in these sports is the ability to accelerate off the mark and cover a few yards quickly. These drills are easy to perform, require very little equipment, and help athletes get off the mark quickly.
It is important to keep the drills short, and rest completely between each set. It is also imperative to warm up for a few minutes before performing speed training drills as they put great strain on a person’s muscles. Failure to correctly warm up increases the likelihood of an injury.
In order to get the best out of these drills, it is often necessary to perform five sets of ten repetitions with each individual sprint counting as a single rep. It is also best to take a five second rest between reps for every second sprinted. For example, if an athlete sprints for ten seconds, rest for fifty seconds before beginning the next one. Those who are using speed training drills for team sports may find that two sessions a week is enough.
There are a variety of speed training drills and none of them require much more than a pair of running shoes, some free space to sprint in, and perhaps a set of cones. A basic sprint involves placing two cones 10 meters apart and sprinting from one to the other. The trainee should then jog back to the start, rest for a short while then go again. It is also possible to alter sprints slightly to replicate the movements of a particular sport. For example, a soccer player may sprint before jumping to head an imaginary football during a speed training session.
To increase an athlete’s acceleration, speed training drills that involve running up a hill should be performed. The extra difficulty will increase the strength and power in the legs. As with flat sprints, it is important to keep these short; with the additional strain placed on the legs, extra rest between sets is necessary. Elite athletes will often use a resistance parachute in lieu of hill sprints. This is one of the most popular aids for those participating in speed training drills.
Without adequate speed training drills, athletes will likely be unable to reach their full potential on the sports field. Whether they are sprinting to catch a football, score a basket on the fast break, or trying to make an important tackle, those who lack acceleration will find themselves a yard short. This is usually the difference between winning and losing so it can be vital that serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts add speed training drills to their regimen.