Designing a Speed and Agility Program

Posted by & filed under .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When we look at creating a program to help an athlete get faster or quicker. There are certain things that we are looking for.

The outline I am going to breakdown is the one that we have used at Evolution for a long time and it has helped thousands of athletes improve their performance.

In an attempt to improve our social media presence, I have been spending a lot of time seeing what other programs do. Very few are showcasing a well rounded program. I know exposure on social networks is limited, not showing the whole picture. I still see a lot of programs that are weak or lacking the total package.

Purpose

What is the purpose of the session? Hopefully your answer is acceleration, max velocity, multi directional movement, or deceleration. These terms may be general but it is important to decide on what is happening.

Without a clear destination, the path to get there is pointless. Decide what you are going to train and each aspect should help you accomplish that goal.

Warm Up 

The purpose of the warm up is to get the body ready for the activities in the session. The duration and make up of the warm up will change depending on the goal of the session.

A good warm up should have rolling, mobility, stability, and dynamic movements. If you are going to be running full speed, they should be building up to that during the warm up. The same goes for changing direction, etc.

Power Development

Power is best developed when you are fresh. This is where we like to use a lot of jumping and medicine ball work.

broad-jump-landing

We will work on take off, landing, and overall technique. When that is mastered the goal is to increase force production as much as rapidly as possible.

Depending on your facility this portion could include weight room work or turf work.

Technique

Speed and agility training is typically missing a technique component. This is really important because all of your drills should be done well.

There is no point in running 12 sprints if you do not drive your knees or run on your heels. We must first master the techniques of the movements that we are going to incorporate.

Whether it is shuffling, crossovers, sprinting, or backpedaling, always start by training with good mechanics.

Integrated Drill

Once we work on improving technique, it is time to put it all together. The reinforcement of the skill that we worked on previously might be the most important piece of the puzzle.

Skipping and other acceleration drills are good, but they serve no purpose if you cannot take those qualities to a sprint.

The basic form of a drill for reinforcement is either a sprint for acceleration or a cone drill for agility. These will work for a while.

When these drills start to becoming rehearsed or too predictable, we need to add some variation.

This is where reaction or combining different movements becomes helpful. You could run a pro agility drill by choosing which way to start. You could also have a partner point in the direction you want.

The same goes for sprinting, you could chase someone or a ball instead of just running on your own.

The key is to use whatever skills you worked on earlier. Master the reinforcement and you will have no issue taking it to your sport.

Strength Training

You need strength training in order to improve your speed and agility. A lot of athletes do not see this connection.

If you are not strong enough to push the ground away from you, it is surely going to be tough to improve your speed. You must also be strong enough to control your body during speed and agility drills. You need strength.

Conditioning

I like to save conditioning for the end. This way no other piece suffers because of fatigue.

I could go very scientific with exercise metabolism and what not here but there is really no point. I like a good mix of repeated sprints, short shuttles, and longer shuttles.

I do not like to mix these together in one session. Always choose a goal for conditioning and stick to it.

I hope this helps give you a framework for speed and agility training sessions. The specifics might take a whole textbook to outline but at least this gives a guide.