Rome wasn’t built in a day – With our Spring Break camp starting tomorrow, it’s important for you to understand that one week of a few drills will not be the game changer in your speed or agility. We’ve laid a solid base with our strength training and now it’s time to start working on converting those attributes to action on the field. While 4 days will not be enough to cover all, it will be a start and if you use what you learn and practice much of the same speed & agility techniques, over several months time you will notice a productive difference.
Lineal Speed – Your 40 and 10 yard sprints are the ones that we track at our biannual fit testing. There are many elements that I am looking for and may work with you on in regards to your take off and top end speed production. But, generally I want to keep it to simple elements you can remember and watch for yourself when you don’t have a coach present to assist.
S.E.A.L.S. is how we will try to remember specific keys to assist in our running speed.
- S- Starting Position: When it comes to any timed sprint your set up for the start can dramatically affect the outcome. We will crowd the line, have significant forward weight, back arm ready to swing, and ensure forward lean of the tibia (shins).
- E- Explosion: On the take off we must be explosive. The shorter the distance the more impactful this is. You will have longer foot contact, greater body lean, and cover significant ground in these approximately 10 yards of travel. Keep your eyes toward the ground a short distance in front of you during this phase.
- A- Align: Imagine watching yourself run from in front or behind. The arm swing, leg swing, and torso should all be moving in a near straight line toward the end line target. You want all momentum heading to the end line without distracting lateral movements.
- L- Lean: Imagine watching yourself run from the side. During the explosion phase your body will be near a 45 degree lean. When working toward top speed you will be much more upright with a slight forward lean. Too much lean will not allow full hip extension. To upright in stance and you will mess with ball of foot landing essentially putting on the breaks and hindering your ability to produce forward force. From this angle you would notice your forward knee drive (relatively high, near parallel to ground), the flex of your foot (toe up, parallel to your raised thigh), foot strike (ball of foot striking ground just in front of center of gravity) and the proper drive & recoil of the leg after the foot strike.
Each of these have many details, some of which we will discuss and others that will likely be non-issues or handled simply by keying on these primary elements…. Stay relaxed in face, shoulders and arms. Active arms with an intentional pump to assist the run. And, think cycling of your legs like on a bicycle with both push and pull elements.
Most of these elements remain true with agility, at least for the portion of the agility run that is lineal in nature. I use another acronym to remind of basic key points that will assist you with the change of direction activities, B.L.E.E.D.
- B- Brake: Reducing speed requirements are relative to the intensity of the necessary change of direction. In sport it is often thought of as “coming in under control” so that you have the ability to change direction. When running agility drills you a to some extent learning to make the safe and most effective speed decision for a necessary cut or obstacle.
- L- Level: Changing the level of our center of gravity assists us in the above mentioned braking and also positions us to safely and efficiently change direction.
- E- Eyes: Your eyes are important whether running an agility course or actively playing sport or reaction drill. If you are traveling cone to cone your eyes will quickly track to your next target allowing the body to compensate and follow. If a reaction drill or sport play, your eyes will likely be the key to providing feedback to your body that will best position it for the next action necessary. Other senses can play a role here, but generally your head will need to turn so that your eyes can begin that leading process.
- E- Elbow: When changing direction you will be moving away from that ideal linear running body alignment relative to the extent of the cut. The larger the change of direction the greater need you will have to utilize your arms to assist in balance with preparation and execution of the change of direction. Think elbow fire to assist you in making the turn as well as the swing as you propel out once again.
- D- Drive: Again, as in “Explode” of linear training, we have a lowered body position, greater forward lean and now must drive toward our next target. Our footsteps were reduced in length as we slowed (brake) for the turn, now we must again explosively drive toward the next destination.
These are simple points in an acronym form to help you remember some of the keys to your speed and agility. Four days will not make a difference, but consistent practice of good technique will. Movement mechanics, a few plyometrics, and speed & agility drills await.
Remember, These Are NOT Conditioning activities! You’ll want full rest between the drills we do this week and you later do on your own.
Don’t worry we’ll end with a little conditioning work as well as some type of fun competitive challenge. See you 4/6 on the field!