Understanding and Improving Speed

In lacrosse, speed kills! Being faster than your opponent is a huge competitive edge. Whether it’s being able to sprint by a defender with ease or being first to every ground ball speed can make you appear to be much more skilled and smarter than your opponents.

Speed has always been a quality that was thought to be God given, that you were either born with it or you weren’t. This is not true. Speed is a skill that can be taught and improved as I posted here last September.

Here is a great new article on Usain Bolt and the science of sprinting. Some of the key points from this article are:

  • Since 2008 Bolt has taken .14 seconds of the WR 100M time, more than double what has been done by any other sprinter in history since electronic timing started. You would think he did it by moving his legs faster than everyone else, however he didn’t. In fact he turns his legs over at the same speed that a regular person would
  • Running fast has more to do with the force one applies to the ground than how quickly one can move one’s legs.
  • Speed is dependent upon two variables: The force with which one presses against the ground and how long one applies that force.
  • The average person’s foot is on the ground for about .12 seconds, while an Olympic sprinter’s foot is on the ground for just .08 seconds — a 60-percent difference.

So what does this mean for a lacrosse player? It mean’s that you need to increase your strength and power so that you are able to apply more force into the ground. I’ve always stated that there is no such thing as a quick first step. What people are really seeing when an athlete can accelerate is a quick first push! Stand up and take a step and see if you think that is fast. Steps aren’t fast, they are what you take when you walk. The key to accelerating is developing a powerful push. Along with increasing your strength and power you must then learn how to better apply that force into the ground. I like to tell my athletes to think of crushing a pop can. You don’t put your foot on the can then press as hard as you can. You drive your foot right through the can. That is what you should be trying to do when you accelerate. Drive your foot through the ground to apply as much force as possible in as short a time as possible.  And as the article pointed out, that is the key to improving your speed.

Here is a video of a drill you can use to help improve your acceleration running technique as well as increasing the amount of force you apply into the ground with every step. It’s called Up Tall and Fall.

Tags: , , ,

Leave A Reply (No comments so far)

No comments yet




Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.