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Developing Sports Speed

Developing Sports Speed

To train and improve sports speed one must train both physical and cognitive components affecting sports speed. When I say sports speed I am really speaking of agility, whether it’s a basketball player driving the lane, avoiding defenders on the way to the hoop or a quarterback standing tall in the pocket, anticipating the opening of a window to throw the ball to a wide receiver. For all athletes the importance of sports speed is critical. Athletes must learn to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions quickly in response to game situations. Training multidirectional sports movements is often more important than training linear speed when preparing for an upcoming sports season. Agility is often broken down into two components physical and cognitive. Some examples of physical components that need to be trained are proper technique, muscle power, change of direction, and proper body position. These components are key to developing agility. Below are examples of strength training and cone drills that can be done to help improve your quickness:

  • Squatting and Olympics lifts to improve strength and power

  • Four Cone Box Drill

  • M-Drill 5 Cone Weave

Before an athlete makes a play they must analyze the situation then make the best decision. Examples of cognitive components that should be trained include decision making and anticipation. Often the difference that separates elite athletes from the competition is the highly developed cognitive components of the athlete. Below are examples of exercises that help improve response and decision making abilities:

  • Reaction Ball

  • Mirror Drill

  • Coaching Cues (visual and auditory)

  • Meditation (visualization)

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