It’s said you can’t coach speed. You either got it or you don’t. That statement might bear some truth, as some athletes are gifted with the ability to run faster than others. This doesn’t mean that you can’t maximize yourself for speed, however. You can become as fast as you can become with the proper training. The Olympic sprinters you see blazing the track or the football players who pulls away from the defender and outruns them to the endzone all trained for speed. They weren’t satisfied with what they were born with, whether they were gifted with speed or not.
Don’t confuse speed with agility, either. Speed is the ability to outrun someone next to you or catch up to a fly ball in the outfield. Agility aims more for the quick movements, generally side-to-side, or the ability to change pace rapidly. The two can be very correlated, but not every fast athlete is also agile. It really depends on the type of training.
When maximizing yourself for speed, your aim is to get faster. Speed can help you in every sport, and speed helps you burn more calories, so training with sprints, for instance, can help boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. That’s just one example of gaining speed. Here are a few more ways to maximize yourself for speed:
- Run Hills. Running hills or running on the treadmill with a minimum of 5% incline will truly add speed to your legs. Dig deep as you ascend the hills. Picture Ivan Drago and Rocky in “Rocky IV” training for their upcoming match.
- Plyometrics. Adding plyometrics to your workout regimen increases the power in your lower body. More power means more speed. You need strong legs to run faster, and the jumping and power moves involved in plyometrics definitely helps you gain strength.
- Run With A Weighted Vest. Ever notice how batters in the batter’s box will add a weighted donut to their bat and make a few swings. Perhaps you’ve swung a weighted bat or golf club. How much lighter does the regular club feel afterwards? Try adding a weighted vest to your chest and run. It won’t take long to notice an enormous difference once you take the vest off. You will feel lighter and faster.
- Run With A Parachute Attachment. NFL players train with a parachute attached to their hip. The added parachute catches the wind and adds resistance.
- Do Agility Drills. As mentioned earlier, speed and agility are slightly different, but doing agility drills can aid in maximizing your speed. Cone drills which include shuffling side-to-side or sprinting in diagonal patterns while changing directions quickly can help your feet become quicker and engage your fast-twitch muscles, both of which are needed for speed.