“Speed and Agility” training is an eye catching phrase, and parents love to see their kids going through speed ladders, doing “agility” drills and running countless amount sprints that simply just get their child tired & sweaty. However, the two limiting factors when training kids to get faster is a lack of strength and mobility.
Believe it or not, Strength Training is Speed Training. A strong athlete is always better at running, jumping, and throwing than a weak athlete. You cannot maximize your speed if you leave out strength training. You cannot improve your speed if your body lacks strength. Develop a basic level of strength in your athletes and watch their speed increase. Becoming stronger doesn’t only help with performance on the field and in life, it also has a crucial role in developing confidence. Do you see where I am going with this? If you haven’t by now, let me remind you that strength comes first when working with athletes, and adults alike.
From my experience, athletes from 9 years old and up need to develop relative bodyweight strength, improve flexibility, mobility, and coordination. Chances are that if you focus on improving those things listed above, they will not only become faster, they will be more powerful and stronger while doing so.
Strapping a parachute, or performing advanced training to a youth athlete that cannot control their own bodyweight or no baseline of relative strength can only hinder the progress made, and in the long run, cause injury. Doing so will only reinforce the bad running habits they have formed over the years and potentially make them worse, and set them back on the playing field. In some cases, kids are physically unable to maintain the proper positions required when sprinting or even apply enough force into the ground to propel their body forward. Again, this is where strength and mobility come in.
Also, performing “Speed Ladder” Drills to improve your “speed and agility” will not make you faster. Yes, they have their place in my programming but whens the last time someone did the “Icky Shuffle” trying to steal 2nd base. Know where they are necessary and why you are doing them.
Focus on building a solid foundation of strength while improving the areas in which the athlete has weaknesses. At HustleStrength, after assessing each athlete we determine where an athlete needs more work and we prescribe them with special exercises to help strengthen and improve their mobility/stability in the areas they show weakness and tightness.
Once a solid foundation of strength is built, an athlete will be able to handle his or her bodyweight better and thus be able to move in different directions quicker. So believe it or not, Speed, Power, Explosiveness, Agility, and Quickness will improve once an athlete develops a certain level of relative body strength. Don’t believe me? Come and check out HustleStrength for all your “Speed Training” needs. Trust the process, GET STRONG, and the results will follow.