There are very few individuals in our society who really understand sports and athletics.
All of the issues with today’s athletes, from physical to emotional, never used to happen.
If I could go back in time and become a physical therapist specializing in patellofemoral pain. The amount of middle/high school age girls that come in with these symptoms is off the charts.
The cause is always the same, too. Too much practice volume, too many games, and too many teams. On the other side, these athletes are missing strength, recovery, and a variety of athletic abilities.
The notion among athletes is that they need to do more and they need to do it faster. Successful athletes, however, do everything a little bit smarter.
Anyway, this post isn’t supposed to be about the state of athletics. I am going to talk about how these ideas are producing slower athletes.
The majority of athletes and parents are obsessed with quantity over quality.
This idea is destroying speed training. When I tell an athlete to sprint 20 yards as fast as they can, the next question is typically: how many?
For once I want an athlete to ask: how fast? Yes, I would be repeating myself but the change is mindset would be appreciated.
Everything for these athletes has become conditioning but the parents wonder why their kid has gotten any faster.
Strength is one side of the equation but that is another can of worms for another day.
The athletes have never tapped into their top end speed.
When they are constantly being run into the ground, they cannot run at full speed to get through all of the volume.
I read an article about how Nick Winkelman trains his athletes for the NFL combine and certain days the whole workout would be 6-8 20 yard sprints.
If 6-8 20 yard sprints are good enough for Julio Jones and A.J. Green, what makes your kid so special?
He even talks about how some of these athletes have never had to use the top end of their speed abilities before and training those abilities will make them faster.
I am not saying that I train the next All-Pro wide receiver but these kids also have never gotten into their maximal speed development.
In short, to improve speed we need to move fast.
This applies to sprinting, swinging, skating, throwing, kicking, etc.
Again there is an aspect of technique and strength that needs to be addressed but those do not matter if the athlete is not moving at 100%.
There is a new movement with Junior golfers and developing swing speed. They want the kids to swing as hard as they can and forget about where the ball goes.
This strategy will produce the speed necessary to swing with the best professionals down the road and gives instructors a good foundation to refine technique off of.
Most athletes, coaches, and parents prioritize winning a national title at age 8 instead of developing the kids to win a national title for a Division 1 school.
No one cares about the trophies you earned before puberty.
We need to make a shift if we want athletes to train for speed.
- We must actually move as fast as possible and then move faster than that
- A long rest period must be provided
- The volume has to be low
- Quality over quantity
When everything turns into conditioning we get slow, sluggish efforts. Training for speed must be done as fast as possible.
Stop making the kids go to the brink of puking and start getting them to train smarter.
The result will be better and faster athletes.