Sprinting and jumping are crucial for success in many sports. Athletes must reach top speed in the blink of an eye to get on base or score a touchdown. Rebounding often involves jumping over an opponent to get the ball.
The two skills may look different, but they share the same basic mechanics. To run or jump, you must be able to produce a large amount of ground force; take your legs from extension (straight line) to recovery (approximately a 90-degree bend) and back quickly; and increase your hip turnover ratio or load for a jump. You must have timing and proper arm-swing mechanics to maximize both vertical height and first-step quickness.
Skipping drills enhance sprinting speed and vertical jump because they improve ground force production, hip quickness, upper- and lower-body coordination and core stability.
- Keep your torso upright, your core tight and your head neutral to your spine
- Keep your elbows at 90 degrees and tight to your sides
- Keep your fingers loose and open
- Bring your knee up to 90 degrees (recovery position) on every step, keeping your foot in front of your center mass and your toes pulled up
- Extend your leg quickly and punch the ground with the ball of your foot as you skip
- Move your arms in a contralateral rhythm with your legs (opposite leg moving with opposite arm) and snap quickly behind your center mass
- Curl forward from your trunk or jerk your upper body
- Place your knees and hands out of your mid-line
- Strike the ground with your heels
- Extend your elbows out from your sides
- Pull your feet behind or under your body
Try these skipping drills for speed and hops. Add them to your weekly speed workouts or as part of your warm-ups. Perform 3 sets of 25-35 yards and walk back to the start to recover. Focus on explosive movements and quick hips.
Move forward while skipping and focus on producing ground force to cover large distances quickly.
Acceleration or A-Skips
Similar to Front Skips, but the focus is on quick, choppy skips. Perform three to four times the number of A-Skips as Front Skips over the same distance. Pull your knees to recovery as fast as you can.
The goal with Power Skips is to attain maximum height and arm drive on each skip. Think about ground force production and drive the opposing knee up to lift your body off the ground.