How to increase speed in Sport
Want to increase your speed in sport performance?
I noticed last year when I took up tennis for the first time that I wasn’t as reactive as I was in my youth.
I saw the ball coming to me but I was just too slow off the mark.
The more you get into sport the more you want to increase your speed.
How can we become faster, quicker footed or just fitter?
Agility training is when we train our bodies for faster movements. These can be side stepping for tennis, higher knees to support running or quick turns for playing hockey.
The first step is to get the movement patterns and then add in speed.
There are many agility exercises each designed for different purposes;
Acceleration away from players
Each sport has specific agility drills but a lot of the time in field sport and running there is some cross over.
But before we consider improving our speed we have to consider that unless we are strong enough or have performed the sport enough speed training can actually be a precursor to injury.
If you are thinking of embarking on speed, you will have to make sure you that you are strong enough. When you add speed to any workout you increase the load through your body up to 9x so your body needs to be ready for it.
Examples of this are:
If you want to do some jumping/ hopping/ skipping which is great for power work into the calf’s then you need to make sure you can perform at least 25 single leg calf raises. If you can’t and you start jumping or hopping that’s when you may injure your calf or even set off your Achilles.
Jumping also works your thigh muscles so there is no point in jumping if you struggle to do 30 squats. The forces of the jumping will only end up travelling through your knees.
So always consider when thinking of speed work start by looking at the movement pattern. Perform the exercise slowly first then gradually add in speed and impact.
3 main rules of improving speed in Sport Performance
- Get strong first.
- Start with the correct movement first by slowing down the movement perform any speed work at the start of the session rather than at the end when you are tired.
- Speed work should be short and sharp with recovery in between.
A good example would be 3-4 exercises, 30 sec per exercise and repeat it three time. Perform 2-3 exercises per week.
Sometimes it is quite hard to motivate yourself to perform agility sessions on your own.
Once I decided that I needed to work on my speed I thought I would try an aerobics class.
The class encompassed many of the movements I was looking to improve on side steps/ high knees/ turns and to top it off it was very fun!
I was hooked and as a result have managed to get the same instructor to run the class at our new studio on a Saturday morning at 8.30am.
So if you are injury free and have been working on your strength and would like to improve your speed and general fitness then come along and try the session.
If you quote “spring challenge” you get your first session for half price.