By Matt Carroll -
This is a great sprint workout that can be used 2-3 times a week to increase players’ max velocity and improve sprint technique. The key to speed training is to maximize technique and power and to minimize reps so that athletes are able to get to as near as 100% as they can for each repetition. Players should start with the basics, and then more advanced, and game-like, sprints can be utilized.
First, have players line up on the touchline with a cone 10, 20, and 40 yards apart.
A good starting point is to have your athletes line up with their toes on the line, then have them fall forward. Whichever foot they reach out to catch themselves should then be the foot they drive off of in their sprint. Players should be coached against “rocking” where they initially step backward or rock back before starting their forward motion.
Another point to focus on is to have players “rip” their arms forwards and back at a 90-degree angle with hands reaching forward till they align with their chin, and back till they align with their hip.
The coach should start the drill with some type of starting signal, but it should be made clear to the players that they should go when they are ready, so they can focus on technique, and they should go at full speed. Players should have reps at 10 yards, 2 at 20, and one full 40-yard sprint. As players jog back after their sprint they should focus on slowing their breathing and the next rep should not start until athletes’ breathing has returned to normal. Again, the focus is speed, not fitness.
As players’ techniques begin to improve the sprints can move from stationary to situational. For example, players can be told to run diagonally to a coaching stick, then start their sprint once they reach the stick, utilizing the same technique they learned from the stationary start.
By Matt Carroll