At Evolution, two of our primary goals is to make athletes faster and stronger.
We feel that those two qualities are very helpful to building a successful athlete. If an athlete has good skills but they are slower than everyone else, speed training would help this athlete become better at their sport.
On the other hand if an athlete does not appear to be so skilled because they lack strength, then some strength training can make up for the false notion of missing skill.
When parents are seeking out training for their kids the conversation usually goes one of two ways. The kid is either big and strong but looks like they are running in slow motion, or the kid is really fast but gets knocked around easily.
We have helped hundreds of athletes that fit into those two categories.
Based on the way that people ask about our program and what they want their kids to accomplish, it almost seems like the two do not go together. How can we train to be fast and strong at the same time?
Young kids are like sponges. Until an athlete is out of high school, they are able to absorb and develop many different qualities quickly. They are capable of getting faster, stronger, more powerful, and more mobile all in the same program.
This is a lot harder for older athletes. Younger athletes also have a lot less of a training background which makes them ready to adapt to everything.
The two qualities- strength and speed- do go hand in hand.
When we are talking about running speed there are a couple of training points we are looking for. Fast runners drive their knees to hip level, push the ground away from them, and turn over the legs quickly.
Those three qualities are all technique based but require strength to do them.
The kids that seem to moving really fast but not going anywhere are not getting their legs to propel them forward. They probably lack strength in the hip and hamstrings to fully extend the back leg.
Running, jumping, swinging, and throwing are all powerful movements. They occur with low resistance and high speed.
To develop power we must have a base level of strength and then display that strength quickly. The more strength we have, the easier it becomes to use it.
An athlete that can deadlift their body weight 10 times is going to run (moving their body weight) a lot faster than someone who cannot deadlift the same body weight.
The stronger we get, the easier it is to develop speed. More strength means more force that we can put into the ground. The harder we push into the ground, the more of a forward push that we get. That can mean less steps to get the same distance or the same steps to get further. They both mean the same thing- the athlete got faster.
These two qualities do not have to be one or the other. They work best as a complement to each other. It is nearly impossible to make a slow, weak athlete faster without getting them stronger.
They will get better with some technique adjustments and by training for speed and agility but there will always be the missing quality of strength holding the athlete back.