Sports conditioning has become an important part of any athlete's training, and many camps now exist which cater to the different types of conditioning. Speed camps focus entirely on developing speed for specific sports, though many speed camps focus on all sports in general. Each one will work to develop fast twitch muscle tissue — the muscle tissue that helps a person accelerate quickly — and to get the body used to moving quickly. This means that agility training will also be part of most speed camps. Some camps are specific to an activity, such as football speed camps or soccer camps, while others focus on running in general and can cater to athletes from a variety of sports backgrounds.
Many sports require the athlete to run, but not all sports require the athlete to run in the same way. Sport-specific speed camps develop speed and agility tailored to the needs of that particular sport. A baseball speed camp will focus on taking a lead off the base and stealing bases, or accelerating quickly when playing the outfield. Athletes will practice running the bases and proper technique for making sure the athlete touches each base. A football speed camp will focus on running for each individual position; a wide receiver may work on accelerating off the line and changing direction quickly; other positions may focus more on starting and stopping.
Other speed camps have a broader scope that works with all athletes from different sports. This type of camp may focus more on general speed training, such as interval training. Interval training means the athlete will run at a moderate pace for a set period of time, run at full speed for a short period of time, then return to the moderate speed for a brief rest before repeating the process. This helps the athlete develop sprinting skills, and it helps increase VO2 Max,or the amount of oxygen the body can use during strenuous exercise.
Much of the training in all of the camps focuses on avoiding injury, becoming stronger and more agile, and developing a logical routine for developing speed. Safety should always be a priority, as speed training can be strenuous on the body and requires a fair amount of preparation and recovery. Some speed camps take place in places that are at a high elevation above sea level to help improve VO2 Max and muscle recovery.