The phrase “Speed Kills” is often used to describe a stand-out athlete. We agree that speed is the ultimate attribute in sport. That’s why training for speed, especially game speed, is our number one priority. In this second installment we take deeper dive into some of the less known aspects and benefits of speed training and why we do it.
Speed IS Strength
Too often, we think of weight training as the ultimate form of strength development. The traditional lens of squat, deadlift and bench are what most envision when it comes to “strength”. Well, did you know that when sprinting at top speed athletes can create up to 5x their body weight in force?… On one leg! So our (hypothetical) lean 150 pound high schooler is creating up to 750 pounds of force with every foot strike! There’s nothing in the weight room they can do with 750 pounds except count it on the rack! So we sprint!
Building the Bounce
In addition to the force created, you can see the Time axis in the graph below. So not only are athletes generating enormous amounts of force but they are doing so in milliseconds! Only in sprinting can athletes create contact times that fast! We utilize a multitude of plyometrics, hurdles, boxes, bounds, etc., which all serve a purpose, but nothing compares to the reactivity demands created by sprinting. So we sprint!
Training the Nervous System
Finally, and most importantly, sprinting is an intensive effort on the Central Nervous System. Zach Dechant, Sports Performance Coach at TCU, put it best stating “Sprinting is specific to developing the nervous system. The nervous system is the engine that drives performance.”
Too often athletes get caught up on working their muscles. But, all the muscles in the world won’t make you fast if you don’t have the CNS to support it! That’s why bodybuilders aren’t breaking world records in speed or strength. The CNS grants muscles their abilities, so obviously training it becomes a priority. And there’s no better way to train it than sprinting. So we sprint!