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Speed and Agility Training Program Tips for High Performance Players

VertiMax

If you are looking to unlock your performance, an intense speed and agility training program will help you reach your maximum acceleration speeds and top-end gains - regardless of the sport you play.

Speed & Agility

Speed and agility are not one in the same. To reach maximum performance levels, an athlete must train and condition for strength, speed, and agility. We’ve compiled the top techniques to build an effective speed and agility training program into your weekly training sessions.

Speed - The ability to achieve maximum velocity.

Agility - The ability to rapidly change direction without the loss of speed, coordination, balance, strength or body control.

SPEED = STRENGTH

AGILITY = STRENGTH

Strength and power are the foundations to speed/agility development. When it comes to speed and agility training programs, your most effective tool is strength training.

Factors Determining Speed of Movement

Reactability - The ability to react to our changing environment.

Motor Coordination - The harmonious functioning of body parts that involve movement, including gross motor movement, fine motor movement, and motor planning.

Muscular Endurance - The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. It is one of the components of muscular fitness, along with muscular strength and power

Force - The ability to change an object's state, rest, or motion.

Strength - The ability of a person to exert force on physical objects using their muscles.

External Conditions - Outside influences that can impact athletic performance, such as weather, or field conditions.

Tips to Increase Speed

The best agility training programs start by developing an athletes ability to achieve maximum speed. Focus on speed drills designed to improve stride rate, stride length, starting ability, and sprinting technique.

Stride Rate - How fast the foot can return to the ground, increasing the number of foot contacts in any given time.

Stride Length - The actual distance covered with each step taken.

Starting Ability - The ability to hit maximum acceleration upon starting.

Sprinting Technique - The ability to learn and implement proper running form to achieve improved speeds. Optimal sprinting technique is comprised of posture, arm movement, and leg movement.

  • Leg Movement
    • Feet strike under the hips
    • Heel to butt recovery
    • Dorsiflexion (i.e. flexion of the foot in an upward direction)
  • Arm Movement
    • “Relaxed hands”
    • Elbows at 90°
    • Maintaining a motion similar to hammering a nail.
  • Posture
    • Eye up
    • Chin level
    • Shoulders ahead of the hips

Suggested Speed Training Drills

Sprinting Drill - Begin with a 1-mile warmup. Run 8 x 600 meters (1.5 laps of a track) at 5K goal pace, maintaining a 200-meter recovery jog between each interval. Run 4 x 200 meters at 1-mile pace (slightly faster than 5K speed), maintaining a 200-meter recovery jog between each interval. Finish with a 1-mile cooldown. Including this basic sprinting drill in your agility training program will improve foot speed and develop rapid foot movement.

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

‘A’ Skip Drill - Begin by marching slowly, feeling out each portion of the drill. During the drill, be sure to maintain dorsiflexion in your foot as you raise it to your opposite knee. Maintain an erect torso and swing your hands in the opposite direction of your legs. Once you have the technique and form down, add a skip. The skip exaggerates the push-off force necessary for an explosive start, from the ground at the ball of the foot. Including this drill in your agility training program will help to develop coordination and balance.

Drill Duration: 8-12 times for each leg

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

High Knees Run Out with VertiMax Raptor - Attach one end of a resistance band to a solid anchor (such as a fence at the track) and the other end around your waist. Start in a standing position, about 10 meters in front of the VertiMax Raptor. Begin high knees, alternating between legs, for 25 seconds. Rest and repeat. High-knee exercises target and tone your core, quads, glutes and calves. Because of the one-legged stance during the movement, adding this drill in your agility training program will help to develop coordination and balance.

Exercise also serves to help improve your balance.

Drill Duration: 15 - 30 seconds

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

Lunge Backside Frontside with VertiMax Raptor - Anchor your Raptor (i.e. on a fence) and set the resistance at your waist. Step about 10 meters in front of the Raptor. Proceed into a lunge, knee lift, step back down, and then back to reset. Be sure to keep your foot low while you pull through. This is an ideal drill to strengthen your core and leg muscles - both of which are vital to enhancing your running speeds.

Drill Duration: 8-12 times for each leg

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

3 Point Start Drill with VertiMax 8 - Start by attaching bands to the thighs and the hands. This drill is designed to improve coordination between the hands and the opposite leg for increased start times. Assume the 3 point start position, strike quickly and rapidly with explosive speed, under center of mass on the balls of your feet. Be sure you heels are not dropping to the ground.

Sets: 8 - 10 explosive starts

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

Agility Training Program Drills

Lateral Plyometric Jumps - Lateral plyometric jumps help build explosive power, balance, and coordination by using our natural body weight. This advanced agility training exercise is essential for any athletic position that requires lateral coordination and power. For best results, be sure to perform this drill after a thorough warm up.

Drill Duration: 8-12 times

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

Forward Running, High-Knee Drills - Requiring only a basic speed ladder and your body, this agility training exercise is designed to improve foot coordination and speed for all field sport athletes. Simply run with high knees forward through the ladder, landing in every ladder space. For this simple drill, proper form is key. Be sure to land on the balls of your feet and drive forward with your arms.

Drill Duration: 8-12 times

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

Plyometric Agility Hurdles - Athletes use plyometric jumping exercises to build explosive power and speed. Additionally, these challenging agility training drills improve coordination, dexterity, and effectively improves sports performance. Using a set of small hurdles, jumping on one or both feet can develop agility and increase foot speed for runners and field sports athletes alike.

    • Set up several small agility hurdles, placing about 2 feet between each hurdle.
    • Start with your legs shoulder-width apart. Begin to jump upward and forward, clearing each hurdle. Be sure to land lightly on the balls of your feet.
    • Upon landing, immediately jump again, driving forward with your arms.
    • Repeat several repetitions.
    • Repeat the drill on only the right foot and then only the left foot.

Drill Duration: 5 - 8 hurdles (for advanced athletes - the more hurdles, the more effective the drill)

Sets: 2-3 sets (resting for 15 between sets)

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

5 - 10 - 5 Drill - Even for advanced athletes, you simply can’t go wrong with the basics. Start the drill with your hand on the ground touching the 5-yard line. Next, turn 90° to your right and proceed into an explosive sprint to the 10-yard line. Touch the 10-yard line and sprint all the way to the end zone. Touch the goal line, and then sprint back through the 5-yard line. If you aren't on a football field, set up the drill with cones. This type of agility drill improves an athletes change of direction ability.

Drill Duration: 8 - 10 repetitions (with four to five turning to the right first, and four to five turning to the left first). We recommend a 3:1 rest to work ratio (resting for three times the length of time it takes to complete the drill before running the next repetition).

Occurrence: 3-5 times a week

Adding a strength and agility training program to your weekly conditioning sessions is a sure fire way to effectively and efficiently increase your speed and overall athletic ability. You’ll start to experience results in as little as two weeks, gaining more speed and agility the longer and harder you train.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your speed and agility training programs, contact a member of the VertiMax team today!

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