Daily Dose of Coach #397: A Few Random Tips on Improving Speed

RT 1: No doubt; speed kills. But controlled speed and knowing when to use it can optimize game performance. Max speed all the time can lead to mistakes, being out of position, and affect the precision of skills.

RT2: Though acceleration is vital in most team sports. Focusing only on acceleration mechanics is not optimal. As I learned from speed coach, Lance Walker , this summer; max speed mechanics present themselves in acceleration. Max speed mechanics should be practiced to improve all phases of speed.

RT3: A variety of cues work great for teaching amateur athletes. My favorite for acceleration is "drive the knees through panes of glass," "get long with your arms and legs," "push the ground away." For max speed, " Stay tall, lean slightly forward as running through a wind tunnel," "think running in shin-high water, or step over your opposite knee," "relax."

RT4: Time your sprints. I learned this one from Mike Boyle. He said, it's amazing how much faster our athletes got once we started timing them. This summer, I started experimenting with the Jawku Speed watch with a few of our athletes. We timed their 10-yards sprints each week. Wouldn't you know, they all got faster. We'll have six of these bands in our new facility and will be incorporating timed-speed into our program.

RT5: Your arms are your gas pedal. Explosive and proper arm action drives the speed at which your legs go. This also works in situations when the athlete is fatigued. I tell athletes to focus on their arm drive when they are playing in a fatigued state. I've found they can maintain their explosiveness for longer when thinking "arm drive" rather than just " run."