Saturday, November 19, 2016
The Essential for Speed
Speed is the ability to activate fast twitch muscle fibers in order to elicit a quick, yet precise movement.1 For an athlete, it is mostly influenced by one’s level of endurance, strength, agility, and power. Speed is one of the main components of fitness. In the previous blogs, I discussed the relationships between strength, endurance, power, and flexibility. Along with those components, speed is just as important and dependent on the other them in order to enhance athletic performance.
One of the many challenges within competitive sports is training for speed. It is one of the most difficult aspects to train due to the athlete’s genetic make-up. Each athlete has a set number of fast twitch muscle fibers that will allow them to move at a certain pace and no faster. Depending upon how many and how quickly muscle spindles are recruited, determines the speed at which the athlete will move.
There are many different methods to train for speed. Strength and conditioning coaches train athletes for speed depending on the physical demands needed for their sport and position within their sport. The purpose of training for speed is to improve running speed which requires a training program that focuses on leg strength and power, along with appropriate technique training to best utilize your strength and power development.2 Sports that require some form of speed training includes Basketball, Football, Soccer, Track, Volleyball, Rugby, and many other sports. Depending on the sport and the physical demand, the Strength and Conditioning coaches will conduct various tests to measure how far along the athlete has progressed or digressed. The main tests coaches used are the 40 yard dash and the 10 meter shuttle; however, there are many more clinical based tests that may be used.
Speed is essential for any athletic related events. Speed training also varies depending on the physical demand for various sports. It is not only essential for sport, but it is also one of the major components of fitness.
1Corbin, C. B., Pangrazi, R. P., & Franks, B. D. (2000). Definitions: Health, Fitness, and Physical Activity. President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest.