In pretty much every sport, speed and agility are important. This is especially true in sports like football and basketball. Being able to accelerate, change direction quickly, and keep your body under control is hard, but is what sets great athletes apart from the rest. Luckily, speed and agility training can help athletes improve their speed and overall athleticism.
At Warren Academy, we offer speed and agility training sessions in our FAST program. Our FAST program is designed to correct running form, improve sprint mechanics, increase acceleration and develop quickness in all of our athletes. Our staff understand how important speed is in sports, and want to help athletes improve each and every day.
Below, we offer some tips on how you can improve your acceleration and become faster starting today!
What is acceleration?
In sports, many believe that speed itself is what sets athletes apart from their competition. Although this is somewhat true, an athlete cannot blow others away with speed without great acceleration. Acceleration is essentially the time it takes an athlete to get up to full speed. Without great acceleration, it’s hard for athletes to make a difference with their quickness.
What affects an athlete's acceleration?
There are several factors that affect how quickly an athlete can accelerate. When an athlete goes from not moving to running full speed, there are many techniques that need to go right.
First, technique and body position both play huge roles in an athlete's acceleration. Athletes need to possess a technique that keeps their body’s under control and as close to the ground as possible. To gain speed quickly, an athlete must be able to exert much force in the least way possible. Meaning, any unneeded movements will ultimately act against your acceleration and speed.
Another thing athletes must remember is to stay close to the ground. The quicker you stand up straight, the harder it will be to gain full speed, it’s just simple physics. Positioning your body as close to the ground as possible, without falling over, will allow an athlete to possess better acceleration.
Stride length is another thing that can make or break an athlete’s acceleration. When athletes begin sprinting, it will take them longer to gain full speed the shorter their strides are, ultimately creating slower acceleration. When athletes take longer strides, however, they will be able to gain more ground and get up to speed much faster.
Lastly, how quick an athlete takes a stride, and how long they allow their feet to stay on the ground will also affect their acceleration. For athletes to acquire prime acceleration, they need to take fast strides and make sure to continue moving as quickly as they can.
Tips on improving acceleration
So now that you understand what acceleration is and some things that will affect how quickly you can start moving, let's now look into things athletes can do to improve their overall acceleration and speed.
One of the best ways for an athlete to improve his or her acceleration is by practicing resistance running. Resistance running makes athletes use more force than they would use just running on flat ground. This includes sprinting hills, using speed chutes, and other forms of resistance. Practicing this requires much more force, which ultimately will make accelerating with no resistance on level ground much easier, as well as increase muscle memory.
Athletes must exert greater force when accelerating. And what helps create more force? Strength! For an athlete to improve his or her overall strength. Focus on exercising your hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calves to increase your lower body strength!
Lastly, an athlete won’t be able to improve their acceleration much unless they are constantly practicing!. By doing something over and over and over again, your body and mind will begin to work together to improve your overall speed and performance!
Speed and agility both play a big role in sports performance, but good acceleration is even more important. Use these tips to start improving your acceleration today!
At Warren Academy, our speed and agility training programs help athletes perfect their form and ultimately improve their speed. Visit our website to learn more about our speed and strength training programs!