The Mechanics of Improving Acceleration

December 3, 2012 | Raymond Tucker

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Want to catch a long pass your quarterback just lofted into the end zone? Sprint across the field and make a play on an opponent who's about to score? Or stop your man from making a layup? Then you need to improve your acceleration. Drills are helpful, but to really get that winning edge, you need to learn proper acceleration mechanics. (See also Five Methods to Maximize Acceleration.)

Here are some drills that use a simple progression of mastering one technique before advancing to the next.

Acceleration Wall Drills

These can be performed anywhere. All you need is a wall or an object to put your hands on.

Proper Body Position

  • Stand facing wall on balls of feet with heels slightly raised
  • Lean forward, extend arms and place them on wall slightly below shoulder level with palms flat
  • Lean forward, maintaining straight line from ears to ankles
  • Bring knee up and pull toes up to form good positive shin angle
  • Keep support leg straight
  • Tighten glute muscle of support leg; this is important, because you need to understand how to use your glutes during acceleration

Drill One: Slow Marching

The first drill practices changing legs, ensuring you understand the proper body position.

  • Assume proper body position with right knee up
  • Slowly switch legs by bringing right knee down and left knee up

Drill Two: Rapid Marching

Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg

In this drill, assume the proper body position and change your legs as fast as possible. Remember to bring your knee up and not your body to your knee. This drill can be performed with a partner or alone. Perform on command of one, two or three.

  1. Bring right knee up, pause, return and bring left knee up
  2. Bring right knee up, return, bring left knee up, return and pause
  3. Bring right knee up, return, bring left knee up, return, and bring right knee up

After you have mastered this skill, play a game and change the order of commands 3, 1, 2 and the speed of the drill.

Drill Three: Continuous Marching

Perform the wall drills as fast as you can for ten seconds. Do three sets, remembering to maintain proper body position and technique.

Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
Raymond Tucker
- Raymond Tucker, CSCS, a Level 1 Track Coach certified by the United States Track and Field Association and Level 1 FMS certified by Functional Movement...
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