Last night we got to see the Patriots reach their 7th Super Bowl.
I realize that most of you reading this aren’t thrilled with that result.
The way it went down was really interesting. Both teams utilized a lot of shorter, quicker plays. I thought the Steeler’s offense played really well, despite the scoreboard.
Yesterday’s game was not about long passes or 50/50 balls that required the receivers make a great play. Both offenses got the ball moving with quick passes.
Receivers on both teams appeared to be wide open quite a bit. Now, this blog is not the place to argue about defensive schemes, etc. but it really comes down to the quickness of both teams.
Neither team has what you would call the prototypical receiver. The Super Bowl will when Julio Jones takes the field. Shorter, quicker receivers were making moves to get open for the ball in yesterdays game.
It just goes to show you how important quickness is. It allows athletes to get open that otherwise wouldn’t be. Quicker athletes can get back on defense better. Whatever your role is, quickness will help you be more effective.
Becoming quicker is not done by practicing 6x/week, playing in every showcase, or winning U14 titles. It takes training.
The following 7 strategies can help you improve your quickness.
Improve your Strength
Strength is the ability to produce force. If you increase the amount of force you can produce, then your quickness is going to benefit tremendously.
Improve your Power Production
Quickness is really about power production. Power is force produced in a short amount of time. Quick athletes are powerful because they are not in the same spot for as long as other players.
Strength and power are related. Without any strength, producing power is not possible. Improving strength helps build the foundation. The power is the actual house. Everyone sees the finished product but not what is supporting it.
You must have strength and power to be quick.
Move with Better Technique
A lot of athletes lack quickness because they do not move well. They do not push the ground away, they pull with their front foot, or they wobble side to side.
The number one waste of energy and effort comes down to technique. Improve that and you will move more efficiently. More efficient movement is quick.
More Core Stability
You need to have a stable core to resist movement and become efficient. The core is not designed to produce movement when we run so we need exercises that control movement. Substitute situps/crunches for Pallof presses, leg lowers, and side planks.
Increase your Rest Periods
Everyone tried to turn training into conditioning. They think rest periods are soft and weak.
If you are using a high intensity exercise, it needs to have a longer rest period to be able to repeat that effort. Too short of a rest period will decrease power production. Quickness is a function of power production so it needs to remain as high as possible.
Train for Reaction
You can be the fastest athlete in the world in cone drills, but your reactive ability separates good players. Ideally, you would be someone who is really fast and makes quick decisions.
Using reaction drills are a good way to bring up the decision making process.
Improve your Conditioning
I put conditioning last because this is one hell of a rabbit hole. A lot of people think that conditioning is just getting run into the ground, mercilessly. Conditioning is:
the ability to repeat high intensity, short duration bouts
the ability to maintain output for 30-120 seconds
the ability to maintain low intensity work for 3+ minutes
These three energy systems all have a different role. Athlete can vary in their development of each one. It really comes down to what you need.
Quickness purely lies in the first energy system. Can you repeat your efforts? But it could also lie in the other two. Can you repeat your efforts for an extended period of time?
Either way you need to be able to repeat your efforts of quickness so train for that.
And you are never going to be prepared for what your crazy coach will do when they decide to pound on the team, so don’t sweat it.