Just like a baby must learn to roll over before crawling, crawl before standing, stand before walking, and walk before running, athletes need to build a foundation for elite level athletic performance before they can reach their maximum potential.
At Performance Strength Lab we don’t believe in quick fixes, we believe in long-term athletic development and healthy eating habits for performance. In this article we are going to discuss improving your athletic speed.
Speed for athletes isn't even about training. It's about development.
Much like you wouldn't expect to earn a Bachelor’s degree or Masters degree in just six weeks, optimal and lasting speed improvements don't come in a short period of time either.
They aren't the result of training on high-speed treadmills.
They don't come from jumping into plyometric exercises either.
The essence of creating maximal and permanent speed and agility is based on a developmental principal that involves slowly improving all of the biomotor abilities: strength, flexibility, and power.
You see, with the human body, increases in one biomotor ability will lead to increases or improvements in all of them. That is especially true for athletes.
This may seem odd to you. After all, you have been inundated by coaches, trainers, and the media telling you that to get the specific results you want, you must train specifically for them. Yoga for flexibility. Weights for strength. High-speed treadmills, ladder or cone drills, and plyometrics for speed.
Nothing could be further from the truth, while specific training methods have their place, none of these are relevant until the athlete has the fundamentals mastered and the foundation in place.
People always ask me the same question -
“Coach Beckerley your athletes are fast and agile, but we rarely see you do the normal kinds of speed training that other trainers and coaches do. How is that possible?"
So... here's my little secret.
We make sure our athletes move well and are strong.
That's our secret.
Seems fairly easy, doesn't it?
But think back to our conversation about biomotor abilities. When you increase the level or ability in one of them, you increase them all. Increases in strength will DRAMATICALLY increase the force output (otherwise known as speed) of an athlete. Strength helps an athlete initiate movement and overcome barriers like gravity. Strength allows an athlete to drive and use the ground as propulsion.
This, by the way, is the fundamental difference between actually running and running on high-speed treadmills. A strong athlete can accelerate through the ground and create their own momentum. On a high-speed treadmill, the ground is coming at the athlete, which means that creating force is not necessary. Which one do you think is more beneficial?
While many trainers and coaches knows the fundamentals of movement quality and strength are important, the problem is that most trainers and coaches DON'T know how to train athletes with this in mind.
Strength is the key. So at Performance Strength Lab we first assess and correct movement with the Functional Movement Screen and then we build the solid foundation of strength. We develop a long-term training plan, systematically building each day to help ensure peak performance for specific events. The earlier an athlete comes to us the more likely they are to reach their goals. We understand the desire to run a marathon in 8 weeks, or complete an ironman in 12 weeks and we help athletes do this, but our most successful athletes understand like anything else in life to reach their full potential they must embrace long term athletic development. This allows them to not only become their best athletic selves, but also be able to enjoy athletics far into life.
You may have some questions about this topic after having read the article...
If you do, don't hesitate to call, email or text anytime!
The PSL Long Term Athletic Development model provides us with a pyramid of performance, where the base of the pyramid is movement, which acts as the foundation to all that follows. Without the foundation of movement in your program design, there will be many limitations and risk of injury. After movement Strength is the second part of your foundation. Then moving up the continuum, speed and power then last specialization skills. It is no surprise if the foundation isn’t developed early the later skills will be compromised.