8 Checkpoints to Maximize Your Speed | STACK

8 Checkpoints to Maximize Your Speed

April 1, 2013 | Robert Taylor

Must See Speed Videos

Speed is as much a skill as throwing or catching. (Learn more ways to get faster.) But many times, athletes have to run fast while performing another skill (like catching a pass), and their minds are focused on another goal (like evading a defender). It's important to master the fundamentals of sprinting so thoroughly that they become second nature.

Technique is one of the most trainable factors with regard to speed. A single technique tip can instantly improve how fast you can run. (Try 3 speed ladder drills to improve technique.)

Below are eight mental checkpoints to go through when you train for sprinting. Focus on one at a time and master it before moving on to the next. Once you master all eight checkpoints, you will be close to reaching your speed potential.

Checkpoint 1: Head and Eyes

When sprinting, focus your eyes straight ahead.

Checkpoint 2: Shoulders and Back

Pull your shoulder blades back and arch your lower back.

Checkpoint 3: Hands

Your hands should be relaxed—but not loose—with your thumb pinned to your forefinger. You can alter your grip to whatever is comfortable, but make sure not to create tension.

Checkpoint 4: Arm Swing

The path your hands travel is easily taught using the "chest to hip pocket" cue. Neither hand should cross the midline of your body, and your elbows should remain at a 90-degree angle. On the back swing, your hand may end slightly higher than your hip pocket, but it should travel back far enough so that it is slightly behind your body.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Checkpoint 5: Wrists

At the end of each upward motion of the arm, your wrist should be cocked as it comes up to sternum level. As your hand travels back past your hip, your wrist should be "cracked" backwards as if cracking an imaginary whip.

Checkpoint 6: Glutes

Your glutes must be underneath your upper body, not rotated back and out of alignment with your spine. (Do this exercise to build glute strength.)

Checkpoint 7: Foot Placement

Your foot should make contact with the ground directly below your hips. Draw a line from the bottom of your pelvis to the ground. Your foot should contact the ground less than a foot in front of that line (depending on your size.)

Checkpoint 8: Foot Strike

When your foot strikes the ground, your ankle should be slightly extended, then fully extended during the pushoff. Flex your ankle after the pushoff and keep it flexed as your knee drives up. Your foot will roll slightly from the outside to the inside as it contacts the ground.

Check out the video below for a sneak peek at a SMARTER Team Training clinic.

Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
Robert Taylor
- Robert Taylor is the founder and owner of SMARTER Team Training. He has served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Maryland;...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

As in a previous article, The Venn Diagram of Sprinting, this article will focus on additional factors associated with speed development. Initially, we...

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Pyramids: A Sprint Workout for the Strong

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Soccer Players: Get Faster with the Montreal Impact Workout

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sprint Speed

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Get Faster With 3 Essential Speed Training Strategies

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Step Counting: How Big Men Can Run a Faster 40

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts