As long as we’re determined and focused, we as athletes can train our bodies to do almost anything. For success, players in every sport need to develop and improve their speed and quickness. Even the greatest athletes cannot compete up to their potential unless they are in peak condition.
Luckily, what this involves is training motor skills that are learned in practice. Let’s face it, you must perform the dreaded speed drills to condition your body for competition.
Increasing speed and quickness is different from developing strength and endurance. Speed and quickness are determined by how quickly your muscles respond and react. Strength and endurance are measured by the greatest gains in isolated muscles. (How to build lasting speed.)
To design a program, athletes need to select drills that are aligned with the physical demands and conditioning needs of their sport. For example, a soccer player may use a ball while performing 30-yard drills, while a basketball player may include shuffle drills, 1- to 5-second sprints and side-to-side drills. (Find exactly what you’re looking for on the STACK Speed Drill page)
The following speed drills can be used for any sport. I recommend designating one or two days a week for speed and quickness drills (not including skills training).
Sets/Distance: 2×5, one-minute rest between sprints
- 10-20 yards for acceleration
- 30-60 yards for maximal speed
Sets/Reps: 2×10 shuffles lasting five seconds, 20-second recovery between repetitions
200/400/800-Meter Pyramid Repeats
- 200 meters at 100% of maximum speed, jog 200 meters, repeat x 4
- 400 meters at 90% of maximum speed, jog 400 meters, repeat x 4
- 800 meters at 80% of maximum speed, 400 meter rest
- Set up six to eight cones in a straight line about one meter apart
- Sprint and weave through the cones; turn and weave back to start
- Repeat 10 times trying to beat your last timed speed