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Brian Schiff’s Blog

Injury Prevention, Sports Rehab & Performance Training Expert

Archive for 'speed drills'

Many parents call me and inquire about training their son or daughter with the primary goal of improved speed.  Most of the time, I turn the conversation to body control (acceleration & deceleration) as well as agility.  Most sports are not won or lost with pure linear speed.

Most sports I watch are won by superior athletic movement skill.  In other words, superior footwork and body control.  Over the years, I have been both awed and left wanting while watching some of my clients move for the first time.  The truly great ones make movement seem so fluid and effortless.

Those who struggle most on the court or field simply need to work to improve their footwork.  In particular, I like to focus on lateral quickness (agility).   Today’s short video clip reveals one of my favorite drills to heighten the ability to move side to side quickly and effortlessly. 

If your athlete has difficulty maintaining the proper form and rhythm initially, slow the drill down.  Emphasize that both feet touch down (minimal pressure on inside foot) but that the power comes from the outside foot pushing off.  I typically have my athletes work for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.  Once they master the form, you may elect to use a higher hurdle to increase the emphasis on power as well.

Lately, my posts have focused on injury recovery and injury prevention. Time to switch gears a bit and share some of my philosophies on youth training for sport. I have worked with athletes of all ages (from 8 years old to professional soccer players). No two athletes are exactly alike. However, I often see similar technical and bio motor flaws in their movements.

One of the keys to making BIG impacts on their performance and movement capacity is teaching them simple drills to do repetitively at home. It is easy to overwhelm them with fancy drills and equipment (trainers can fall into this trap quickly). Admittedly, I did too early on when I first started in the industry. The real victory comes when you assess an athlete and identify 2-3 major things he/she can work to improve right away.

So, in my next 3 blog posts, I will share basic drills I use with all of my athletes that have made a significant impact on their form, speed and agility. The best part is that they can do these simple drills at home with minimal equipment too. The first video drill today is of a wall run.  See below:

The key in this particular drill is to maintain the proper forward lean and hip, knee and foot angles to maximize triple extension and facilitate motor learning so the athlete learns to synchronize arm and leg movement.  This drill can be done slow at first or even broken down into segments such as right, left, right (hold) and so on.  Personally, I have seen this single drill dramatically improve acceleration posture and running form in all of my younger kids.  Add it to your training arsenal if you do not use it now.  In the next post, I will reveal a lateral mobility drill that is my personal favorite for maximizing side to side foot speed.