Speed and agility is a topic that we take very seriously at Evolution Sports Performance in Easton.
It is one of the things that allows athletes to get faster and quicker.
Every time speed and agility gets brought up there seems to be someone who is ready to start putting it down. Many strength coaches will claim that all you need to do is lift weights. Speed and agility work is not needed in their opinion.
Blanket statements like this are really dangerous in this industry. Someone can hear something like that without any perspective and take it as dogma.
It is too short sighted to claim that lifting weights is enough to improve speed and agility.
Why do we lift weights in the first place?
Increasing force production
The purpose of strength training is to improve force production. High force production is good because it lays the foundation for power. Power is the ability to develop force quickly.
This is what speed and agility is. High force output in a short amount of time.
So lifting weights will help improve speed and agility in this manner. It is an indirect way but it certainly helps.
This is part of the reason our program includes speed, agility, and strength. It allows us to rule out strength as a limiting factor.
If an athlete is slow because they lack strength, then there is no amount of speed/agility work that will fix that.
Strength plays a huge role in helping athletes get fast and quick.
Reinforcing speed and agility
Half of the equation with improving speed and agility is actually getting on the turf and moving.
And, no this does not mean ladder drills followed by conditioning. Athletes need actual speed and agility work. This happens through two methods:
1. Technique work
Improving mechanics are really important to getting quicker and faster. There are a whole lot of things we are looking for so it can get complicated.
2. Integrating the technique
Using different drills to use the skills that were taught are paramount. There is no point in teaching certain qualities if the athletes never get to use them. The reinforcement of those techniques is really important.
This is the time to include reaction work. Using verbal/visual cues and partner work can be really beneficial. Someone might be able to run a really fast pro agility but they need to be able to use that quickness in an unstructured format.
How much speed and agility do you need?
This will depend on your sport and positions.
A baseball pitcher might not need a ton of speed work but a soccer player definitely does. The only reason I would give a golfer speed and agility drills would be just to build general athleticism in a young athlete.
This does not mean do nothing if there isn’t a heavy emphasis in your sport. It is still important to be able to react quickly in a game. A pitcher is still responsible for fielding the ball. It may be rare but it happens. Be an athlete.
You also need to look at your strengths and weaknesses. If you are already really quick then you need to look at other areas. Maybe strength, reaction, or top speed sprinting could be brought up.
Speed and agility is important for athletes. Some settings do not allow for a lot of it. Some coaches do not prioritize it. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean that lifting weights alone will make you significantly faster or quicker.