Speed is crucial to any football player's success. And even if you aren't born with fast legs, there are ways to improve your performance. Just ask Miami Dolphins wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Read on to learn his approach to speed training.
During his collegiate career at Ohio State, Ginn turned routine plays into big points, smoked opponents, and amazed foes and fans with his speed and agility. Now a pro receiver with the Miami Dolphins, Ginn claims it didn't happen overnight.
"To be named a great receiver, you've got to put [in] a lot of time and effort," says Ginn after a workout preparing him for his 2007 Pro Day. And time and effort are exactly what Ginn has expended since he began training at the age of 13—at Speed Strength Systems near his hometown of Cleveland. Speed Strength owner and trainer Tim Robertson Jr. says, with Ginn, he focuses on developing the total athlete—speed, strength and overall performance.
"Our approach is holistic, starting with flexibility, balance, [and] obviously strength and speed work," Robertson explains.
For Ginn, the approach has worked wonders.
"As far as my running ability, [this training] changed me a lot," Ginn says. "When I first got here, I was running a 5.1, 5.2 40, and I got down to a 4.22. I'm taking my body to another level; just gaining weight and getting faster and being true to the words 'speed' and 'strength.'"
Robertson built on Ginn's natural athleticism. He begins with the warm-up, which has a three-fold purpose: preparing the nervous system for the rigors the body will experience; loosening up the body to increase blood-flow to the lower extremities; and perfecting overall running technique. Then, it's a gradual build up to full speed.
"We do a lot of build-ups and things to increase the body's ability to tolerate the full-speed starts," Robertson says. "A lot of success in [the] 40-yard dash depends on the start. Biomechanically, you have to be efficient, otherwise it can make or break a tenth of a second, which is very significant."
To start the 40 with full force, Robertson recommends focusing on proper body positioning, getting a good turnover, solid arm swing and powering of the hips.
Speed, strength and full force power were evident throughout Ginn's rookie season in Miami. The first-round draft pick had 34 catches for 420 yards and combined for a total of 2,086 rushing, receiving and return yards during the season.
Ginn says to get to this point you have to push your body to its extreme. "A little bit of pain should never stop you from doing what you're supposed to do."
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