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Methods for increasing your speed

by Taylor Tollison

Time after time athletes are increasing their 40 yard dash times by .2-.5 seconds. Wouldnít that be great to drop your speed by that much? Right now youíre asking your self, how can I achieve such dramatic improvements in my speed? The answer is not an easy one. That is why this topic will be covered over a few different articles.

Every athlete has different weaknesses and strengths when it comes to sprinting. It is a matter of evaluating the athlete with a battery of tests to figure out what areas need to be improved upon. For our purposes, in this article and the next few articles, I will be talking about general principles that must be present in order for your athletes to maximize their speed potential. Here are a few of the topics to be covered:

1. Foundation of strength
2. Technique
3. Power
4. Speed building drills ( i.e. Resisted Runs, Assisted runs)
5. Flexibility

oundation of strength

If you want to be fast you need to be strong. I donít understand soccer players who think they should not lift very heavy because they think it will make them big. Itís time to live to in the year 2008 not the 1920ís.

Letís first examine a couple possible erroneous reasons players and coaches might think they should always lift at 3 sets of 10 or something similar to that. First, they might be worried about getting too big. Survey says? Incorrect.

Second, maybe they think because soccer has some endurance component to it they need to always lift at higher repetitions. Survey says? Incorrect again. Finally, the coach or parent of that player was a good player when growing up. That person always lifted using high reps so they teach their athlete that same principle. Three strikes, youíre out. Before you get on my case, I am not saying that you always lift very heavy or that you never lift using higher reps. My point is that lifting heavy needs to be a focus because it makes you fast.

Why strength helps you accelerate faster?

A simple analogy of acceleration in cars will prove the point. You have two full sized vans that are fully loaded. Everything in this test is equal but the engine. One van has a V8 engine and the other a four cylinder. Which do you think is going to accelerate faster? The V8 of course. It is science that dictates why the van with the V8 gets off faster. Unless you have figured out how to trick science I would go with the V8.

If you still donít believe me here is an example using humans. Letís say two soccer players are squatting 300 lbs. The first soccer playerís max squat is 500 lbs and the second soccer playerís max is 325 lbs. Which player can lift the 300lbs faster? The player with the 500 lb max can lift it faster.

The same applies when trying to accelerate as an individual soccer player. The player who is strong can take the mass of his/her body and accelerate themselves faster than the weak player.

Lifting for Strength

To improve your strength you must lift heavy. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association you should lift at 6 repetitions or lower to get stronger. This equates to about 85% or higher of your max. They also say to exercise at about 2-6 sets in this range. The next part about strength for speed will come soon.