GAME DAY Youth Sports Magazine Upstate SC - February 2012 : Page 29

YoUth Fitness W The art of developing speed and agility understanding how to correctly position your body with each possible pattern you can expect to make yourself have true game speed. It is not usually who can run the fastest in a straight line but who can make the quick ad-justments needed to accomplish the play. 4. Great athletes must have the proper combination of flex-ibility and strength. If you lack flexibility you’ll have to modify your movements making them less efficient and possibly leading to injury. Without a great base of strength you will lack accelera-tion and the ability to handle the high forces placed on the body during competition. Both of these components are essentially for injury prevention. As mentioned previously your strength training should include a steady diet of single leg strength and the ability to resist a high rate of force produced not only by on field collisions but by the simple fact of an athlete changing directions quickly. Also understanding your sport and what muscles you tend to use or overuse can help you design the proper flexibility training program which should include some type of soft tissue massage using a foam roller or massage ‘stick’ on a daily basis. You can see from this short list that your training needs some guidance but shouldn’t be overly complicated. Having a plan that encompasses each one of these areas mentioned will go a long way toward helping each athlete reach there given potential. You can’t go out a just perform a series of random drills but rather you must develop the skills it takes to get into and stay in the proper athletic positions. Are you practicing excellence or just practicing hoping for excel-lence? GD your strength training should hen you see an include a variety of movement athlete with great patterns moving from two leg speed or agility stance exercises such as squats that image just and cleans to lunges, step ups seems to stick with you. and single leg squats. They just seem to glide across the court or field. Many 2. Great athletes people think these must possess the things are natural ability to ABSORB born and to a certain FORCE as well as extent that is true. But produce force. without developing In other words these ‘God-given gifts’ you must be able to you’ll never rise to the slow down before top of athletic success. you can speed up. So how do you develop In order to make the ability to blow past sharp cut the athlete a person or stop on a has to decelerate dime? a little in order to First, let’s define KEN move along a differ-what speed and agility FINLEY ent path before ac-are. The strict defini-celerating along that tion of speed simply path. Like a race car driver must means to run to a point faster tap onto the break going into the than someone else can. People turn before hitting the gas down think of a 40 yard sprint when the straight away. you talk about speed. Most This is trained through sports however are played in a proper jump training. This in-much shorter window say 10 to volves first learning to stand on 15 yards and require a sudden one leg then hop (land on the change of direction followed by a short burst of speed. That is the same leg) or leap (land on the true essence of agility-the ability opposite leg of the one you start on) and absorb the force by to avoid, evade, get past or get holding or ‘sticking’ the landing around someone. for several seconds. You must In order to possess these practice hopping and leaping abilities you must first develop in different directions i.e. to the body control. You know when side, forward backward and at you see it but what is it? Here is different angles. Gradually you a list of the components of great began to hop or leap absorb-body control that need to be developed in order to have speed ing the force and then quickly push into another direction. and agility on the athletic field. This takes time to perfect and 1. First, the athlete must pos-usually requires a skillful coach to guide the athlete through sess great BODY AWARENESS. the process and ensure that the Also known in the medical field as proprioception it is the ability technique is solid. of the nerves in your muscles, 3. Great athletes get into joints, ligaments and tendons and stray in good positions to tell your brain where all the in order to be successful. This parts of your body are and how fast they are moving. This allows means they have the ability to RePosition the Feet your brain to make the adjust-in any direction around their ments needed to balance and center of mass. Learning to coordinate the body so that it do this takes a lot of practice moves efficiently and effectively. This quality can be improved and a watchful coach to help provide feedback to the athlete and trained in a variety of ways. while training. By rehearsing Single leg training such as hops the various cutting patterns and leaps on one leg are a great way to improve this quality. Also (sharp, speed, and spin) and

The art of developing speed and agility

Ken Finley

<br /> When you see an athlete with great speed or agility that image just seems to stick with you.<br /> <br /> They just seem to glide across the court or field. Many people think these things are natural born and to a certain extent that is true. But without developing these ‘God-given gifts’ you’ll never rise to the top of athletic success. So how do you develop the ability to blow past a person or stop on a dime?<br /> <br /> First, let’s define what speed and agility are. The strict definition of speed simply means to run to a point faster than someone else can. People think of a 40 yard sprint when you talk about speed. Most sports however are played in a much shorter window say 10 to 15 yards and require a sudden change of direction followed by a short burst of speed. That is the true essence of agility-the ability to avoid, evade, get past or get around someone.<br /> <br /> In order to possess these abilities you must first develop body control. You know when you see it but what is it? Here is a list of the components of great body control that need to be developed in order to have speed and agility on the athletic field.<br /> <br /> 1. First, the athlete must possess great BODY AWARENESS.<br /> Also known in the medical field as proprioception it is the ability of the nerves in your muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons to tell your brain where all the parts of your body are and how fast they are moving. This allows your brain to make the adjustments needed to balance and coordinate the body so that it moves efficiently and effectively.<br /> <br /> This quality can be improved and trained in a variety of ways. Single leg training such as hops and leaps on one leg are a great way to improve this quality. Also your strength training should include a variety of movement patterns moving from two leg stance exercises such as squats and cleans to lunges, step ups and single leg squats.<br /> <br /> 2. Great athletes must possess the ability to ABSORB FORCE as well as produce force. <br /> In other words you must be able to slow down before you can speed up. In order to make sharp cut the athlete has to decelerate a little in order to move along a different path before accelerating along that path. Like a race car driver must tap onto the break going into the turn before hitting the gas down the straight away.<br /> <br /> This is trained through proper jump training. This involves first learning to stand on one leg then hop (land on the same leg) or leap (land on the opposite leg of the one you start on) and absorb the force by holding or ‘sticking’ the landing for several seconds. You must practice hopping and leaping in different directions i.e. to the side, forward backward and at different angles. Gradually you began to hop or leap absorbing the force and then quickly push into another direction. This takes time to perfect and usually requires a skillful coach to guide the athlete through the process and ensure that the technique is solid.<br /> <br /> 3. Great athletes get into and stray in good positions in order to be successful. This means they have the ability to RePosition the Feet in any direction around their center of mass. Learning to do this takes a lot of practice and a watchful coach to help provide feedback to the athlete while training. By rehearsing the various cutting patterns (sharp, speed, and spin) and understanding how to correctly position your body with each possible pattern you can expect to make yourself have true game speed. It is not usually who can run the fastest in a straight line but who can make the quick adjustments needed to accomplish the play.<br /> <br /> 4. Great athletes must have the proper combination of flexibility and strength. If you lack flexibility you’ll have to modify your movements making them less efficient and possibly leading to injury. Without a great base of strength you will lack acceleration and the ability to handle the high forces placed on the body during competition. Both of these components are essentially for injury prevention.<br /> <br /> As mentioned previously your strength training should include a steady diet of single leg strength and the ability to resist a high rate of force produced not only by on field collisions but by the simple fact of an athlete changing directions quickly.<br /> <br /> Also understanding your sport and what muscles you tend to use or overuse can help you design the proper flexibility training program which should include some type of soft tissue massage using a foam roller or massage ‘stick’ on a daily basis.<br /> <br /> You can see from this short list that your training needs some guidance but shouldn’t be overly complicated. Having a plan that encompasses each one of these areas mentioned will go a long way toward helping each athlete reach there given potential. You can’t go out a just perform a series of random drills but rather you must develop the skills it takes to get into and stay in the proper athletic positions. Are you practicing excellence or just practicing hoping for excellence?

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