Feb 3, 2017In the Fast Lane
Josh Robertson, SCCC, is the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Conway (S.C.) High School. He was the Assistant Director of Speed, Strength, and Conditioning at Appalachian State University from 2006 to 2010 and served as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Wofford College from 2004 to 2006. In the following, we asked him about training athletes for speed and agility.
What’s your overall philosophy regarding speed and agility?
When you focus on speed and agility, you get better athletes. Combine the correct weightlifting methods with the correct speed and agility rest periods and drill distances, and the result will be a great speed and agility training program.
What role does strength training play in your speed and agility work?
Going down below parallel in the back squat is the foundation of how we move. When athletes can lift more than their bodyweight in the back squat with speed in the movement, their speed and agility will go through the roof.
How do you make speed and agility training sport specific?
When I train an athlete on speed or agility, that is the training — not sport-specific speed and agility exercises.
What advice would you give coaches who are starting to build their speed and agility programs?
Don’t try to do too much. In America, we think you can take a zebra and run him in a thoroughbred race. We believe training will improve him or running him into the ground will change something mentally to enhance his performance. But this approach is detrimental because it attempts to do too much.
Some strength coaches have what I call “a box of hammers.” They pull out a small hammer and beat on the athlete and tear him down. When that doesn’t work, they get a bigger hammer. The next thing you know, the athlete is broken. They might say the athlete wasn’t good to begin with, but I’d say they didn’t train him right.