Oct 26, 2021Yellow Jacket In-Season Speed Training
Coaches of all levels and all sports now realize the value of a well-run and organized in-season strength and conditioning program. This was not always the norm though. Many coaches and programs were reluctant to have members of their team lift weights during the season. The thinking of the day was that weight training would make them slow, “muscle-bound” and lower their skill level. We now know that this is not the case. In-season strength training is important for injury prevention, maintaining established levels of strength and power, developing new levels of strength and power, and maximizing one’s skill performance.
During the off-season and pre-season months, coaches are also eager to work with their athletes on the importance of speed for their sport. Usual coaches will include some type of speed development into their out-of-season program. But once the season starts and games are on the line; like in-season weight training programs, coaches will usually drop speed training development drills and only concentrate on the conditioning aspect of their sport.
Running sprints and doing gassers will develop advanced levels of conditioning for your sport. But just like strength and power, if speed is not continued to be developed, taught, and coached, it too will slowly be lost by the season’s end.
And just like an in-season strength training program, a few well-placed speed drills placed into your weekly practice schedule will do wonders for your athlete’s game speed.
Topical In-Season High School Football Practice Week:
- New install
- In-season strength training workout
- Special team emphasis
- Individual position work
- Group Work
- In-season strength training workout
- Team walkthrough
- Special team review
- Injury report
- Light conditioning
The old saying: “speed kills your competition” is very true! A team that has faster and quicker players has a big competitive advantage going into any athletic contest. An athlete that is just a few tenths of a second faster or quicker over his or her opponent will be able to outperform a slower athlete. Thus your skill level will be much higher and more pronounced on the field, court, diamond, or pitch.
There is also an old saying that…“great sprinters are born, not made” has some merit to it – there are some factors that you will not be able to change as a coach: genetics, bone and lever length, muscle fiber type, etc. But with good, consistent coaching and emphasis on a few mechanics, form, and higher fitness levels any athlete can become a little faster.
Imagine if the members of your team are now not only stronger, have a higher level of conditioning, and are now faster! What would your team perform like?
With this in mind, and with the help of my head coach, I have now installed into our weekly practice routine the “speed school!” This period is held on Tuesdays early into the practice schedule of the day right after team flex.
We incorporate four stations and divide the team members evenly amongst them:
Station #1: (MECHANICS)
- Speed mechanics
- Sprinting form
- Start and Stance
- Stride length
- Stride Frequency
Station #2: (LINEAR POWER)
- Parachutes sprints
- Sled pulls
- Rubber band resistance sprints
Station #3 (AGILITY AND QUICKNESS)
- Speed ladder
- Penalty box drill
- Zig – Zag drills
- Pro agility
Station #4 (VISUAL IGNITION)
(Visual ignition drills enhance an athlete’s speed by teaching the athlete to quickly recognize a color, decode what that color means, and then to quickly execute a physical response in reaction to that color, thus an athlete will perform more smoothly and confidently in the course of athletic competition.)
- Eye opener
- Cone Slap
- Card commander
» ALSO SEE: Q&A with Notre Dame Director of Sports Nutrition Matt Frakes
The above are examples of some of the drills we incorporate into our “speed school training” program. I would like to emphasize that this period of practice is usually 15 minutes in length, and is not considered extra conditioning for the team members – but another teaching team period just like field goal attempts and punt coverage with all coaches helping out with a coaching station.