8 Checkpoints to Maximize Your Speed | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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.

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;...
Must See
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 16,189,942
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,544,986
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,168,742

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 217,694
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 70,986
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

Speed workouts for baseball are important for offensive and defensive performance. Right now, most baseball players are in the middle of the off-season....

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

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

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

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

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

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

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

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

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

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

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash