Archive for the 'Speed and Agility Training' Category
Ask any soccer coach, player, or fan and they know that a most critical factor in the game today is for soccer fitness training. For serious players, it is essential. Even world cup players who are undersized and lack “natural talent” have made up for their shortcomings by their enhanced strength, speed exercises, superior conditioning and exceptional skilled work ethic.In researching many speed and agility training and fitness programs, I was curious to see what was available for soccer. When I came across Total Soccer Fitness, I was very impressed. This ebook bundle is the most comprehensive program I’ve seen. The package consists of:
- Total Soccer Fitness – complete conditioning resource for players and coaches at all levels
- The Soccer Exercise Library – over 100 conditioning drills and exercises specifically designed for soccer players
- Total Soccer Nutrition – how to eat and drink for soccer peak performance
- Total Soccer Psychology – 10 powerful mental techniques for soccer peak performance
- Smoothies for Athletes – 120 delicious recipes for energy and recovery
Davies is a genius in breaking down the game position by position, from an endurance and conditioning perspective. His programs are based on scientific research and data. The wealth of data he supplies isn’t just for show, he explains how to use this data, and how it applies to your training for your position and overall game. For example, a midfielder will sprint for eleven percent of his total running time and how that links into the conditioning program.
A strength training coach for a professional sports team, certified strength and conditioning Specialist and Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology, Mark Strasser was urged by clients to put together a speed training manual that would guarantee to increase speed using Mark’s proven training methods which are used by World-Class athletes and coaches.
Results have proven that athletes not only gained speed, but got stronger and performed better on the field.
Since inception of this program, the former professional football coach and professional strength training coach for the Minnesota Twins organization has helped thousands of men and women get in shape and gain speed for improved 40 yard dash results and enhanced the athlete’s chances to play to maximum ability.
What happens frequently is that many athletes stumble – and more than once on false teachings of other speed programs.
With this speed training system, athletes and coaches gain immediate access to the program created by Mark Strasser that focuses on increasing speed. This step-by-step strategy can be utilized by athletes at all performance and fitness levels. The goal is to achieve rapid speed while developing strength.
So, you’re interested in learning how to improve your speed and agility. You’ve come to the right place. By the end of this article you will have EVERYTHING you need to get started in Speed and Agility Training. This site is a personal blog that scours everything new and everything old. Old is usually good because it has stood the test of time, but the new stuff is sometimes amazing. For example you can check out sports visions training – a newly popularized mode of training that improves the hitherto unclassifiable things like dynamic visual acuity, depth perception, peripheral vision, fusion flexibility and stamina etc. PS: Do you know what’s the easiest way to improve your dribbling skills? Tell a boxer his mom’s a tart. Speed and Agility: How To Get Started The world of speed and agility training can be quite confusing. If you are like most people visiting this site you have realized that, for some reason, you now have a need to improve your speed and agility, but how do you actually go about doing it? Well I am going to attempt to answer this question both in a general and a specific way. Don’t worry, by the end of this article you will have a clear understanding of what you need to be doing. The first thing you must know is -> Why are you trying to improve your speed and agility?
- you are applying for a sport scholarship and you need to increase your speed and agility as fundamental testing is concerned (ex: 40 yard dash)
- you practice a sport (football, basketball, soccer, baseball etc.) and need to increase your sport specific speed and agility
- you are parent looking to help out your child to improve his speed and agility
- you want to be a better coach (teach others to get good and also coordinate a team)
- you are an amateur that wants to get better
One thing that must be absolutely clear to you is that there are many, many different facets of speed and agility training. Here is an example: a basketball player and a gymnast. Now both of these athletes obviously have great speed and agility. But, can the basketball player do what the gymnast can do? Most certainly not. And the same is true vice versa. Dunking is very different from flipping and this sort of difference can be classified as sport specific speed and agility. There is also something known as general speed and agility. This is the sort of thing that the NFL Combine measures: pure raw athletic ability as measured in speed exercises, strength training workouts or speed and agility drills. These sort of thing can also be trained, BUT… you have to know why and how. Examples:
- how to improve your 40 yard dash or 50m dash
- how to improve your dribbling skills if you play soccer
- if you’re a football player you might be interested in ways that you can more better tackle your opponents or dodge them
You see where I’m going with this? You need to know what aspect you are trying to improve. Now obviously I can’t answer all the questions in the world in one article, but the purpose of this article is to point you in the right direction, so… Step one: why are you interested in speed and agility training? Step two: what aspects of your speed and agility would you like to influence? Here are some possible answers and, as promised, here are some directions that you can go into: There are two groups of people in the world, there are people who focus on learning and there are people who focus on doing. The people who focus on learning will probably delay their results because they haven’t started doing anything until they’ve learned everything there is to know about their field and their objectives. Downside, they delay their results, upside they have the potential to become truly great because once they do start training they know how to train right. The other class of people start doing and learn as they go along. They start improving sooner, but there is a risk that they can learn things incorrectly and then be forced to backpedal and unlearn improper techniques. Tiger Woods had this problem and he had to relearn his whole swing. I recommend a mixed approach. If you want to get started doing something right now. And I mean right now. Here is a link to a great article about improving speed and agility with a simple leg training exercise: Speed and Agility Training With The 1 Legged Squat. PS: Here’s the link for: Speed and Agility Training with Sports Vision training.
Like dying and taxes, speed and agility training in high temperatures is unavoidable in most parts of the planet. It is crucial that you be familiar with recognizing, preventing and treating heat illnesses. It is also vital that you are aware of the warning signs of heat-related illness which can be in the form of elevated body temperature, cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Whether you are doing strength training workouts as a coach, parent or player, you want to be cognizant of how serious this illness can be. In fact heat sickness can dangerous for everyone and the most dangerous to children. This is reliant on the intensiveness of the condition and age of the athlete. Athletes experience heat illness when their bodies are unable to offset and properly cool themselves.
Symptoms of Heat-related illnesses:
Dehydration -might include thirst, less-frequent urination, dry skin, weariness, light-headedness, dizziness, dry mouth and mucous membranes, increased heart rate and breathing
Heat exhaustion – can encompass dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, sickness and/or regurgitation, quick breathing, irritability, weak pulse, dilated pupils, disorientation
Heat stroke – possible headache, wooziness, disorientation, agitation or discombobulation, sluggishness, seizure , coma or death
Treatment For mild cases of heat exhaustion:
- Move to a cool shady area
- Hydrate with plenty of cool fluids such as water or sports drinks
- Do not drink beverages containing alcohol or caffeine
- Loosen or remove clothing
Treatment For Heat Stroke:
- Call 911 immediately
- Move the person to a cool bath of water if conscious and can be attended continuously, otherwise, apply cool tepid water to the skin
- Place ice packs in the armpits and groin area
- If conscious and can tolerate, administer fluids by mouth
- Be aware that temperatures over 85 degrees are conditions favorable to heat illness
- Make certain you are acclimated to the temperature, no heavy work on the first few days of high heat
- Make certain there are enough of fluids on hand for hydrating, preferably H2O (no caffeine or carbonation)
- Rest repeatedly Athletes should wear loose and “sweat absorbable” clothing
- Work out in cooler parts of the day, as morning or early evening
- Snacks must be gently salted
In abstract, whether you, your athletes, or your children are doing strength training workouts, know to be cautious, especially when the heat is ON.
Every athlete who does speed and agility training looks forward to the game, match, meet, contest or event where they can compete and showcase their talents. What many athletes don’t know is how important the hours before the contest can be. Specifically, what and when to eat before an event.
Timing Is Everything
The timing of a pre-contest meal is vital. If you exercise vigorously too closely after a meal, blood will be drawn away from the digestive tract and to the working muscles during exercise. This causes a delay in digestion that is harmful to the body’s processes. On the other hand, if you fast before a game it may decrease the stored up glycogen to the point where athletic performance will be impaired as the body runs low on nutrients. Therefore the best time to eat is 2 ½ to 3 hours prior to exercise to allow food to travel from the stomach to the intestines .
After The Meal
It is not advisable to exercise heavily after eating, like doing speed exercises. It is also inadvisable to sit around directly after a pre-game meal. Moderate walking will burn excess calories and aid in digestion.
Eat foods that can be easily digested like fat-free yogurt, lowfat milk, fruit and lean meat . An athlete should stay away from any foods that are heavy on fat and fiber as they take longer to digest. Foods with high sugar should not be eaten as they will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and then a rapid decline in blood sugar resulting in less energy. These foods can also pull too much fluid into the digestive tract leading to cramping, nausea, and dehydration. Also stay away from caffeine, it causes increased urine production which can result in dehydration.
Suggested Pre-Game Meal
- Milk, skim 1 cup
- Lean meat or equivalent 2 ounces
- Fruit 1 serving (1/2 cup)
- Bread or substitute 2 servings
- Fat spread 1 teaspoon
It is important to know that after speed and agility training , the process of refueling is very important. Not only does refueling make your workouts count, it can be the difference between better performances or stale performances in any given contest. Does this sound far fetched? Not at all, just ask any college level or professional athlete.
There are three areas of nourishment an athlete needs to address; fluid, carbohydrates and protein.
Drink at least 3 cups of fluid plus an additional 2 cups for each pound of weight loss acquired during the practice. This can be water or powerade. Powerade should be the fluid of choice if you are a salty “sweater” or if your training exceeds one hour. Note that you always must weigh before and after practice in order to accurately assess your fluid needs.
Intense workouts use up the carbohydrates in your system. In order to provide energy, it is very important to replace the carbohydrates (carbs) burned, and store some additional carbs for the next workout. It is recommended that an athlete consumes 50-100 grams of carbohydrates after practice or workouts.
Protein is used for muscle fibers in order for them to build up stronger and faster and to prevent muscle breakdown. The recommended amount for refueling is 10-15 grams. A study with Marines during 54 days of basic training reports those who refueled with a 100 calorie recovery drink that contained only 10 grams (40 calories) of protein, not only enhanced muscle protein deposition but also contributed to 33 percent fewer total medical visits, 28 percent fewer visits due to bacterial and viral infections, 37 percent fewer visits due to muscle and joint problems, and 83 percent fewer visits due to heat exhaustion. (Flakoll, Med Sci Sports and Exercise, 2004)
Below are some suggested snacks for after workout nourishment.
- Chocolate milk low-fat ( 2 cups ) and 1 banana
- 4 oz. snack size container of lowfat cottage cheese:
- Two tablespoons of hummus on four Kashi Heart to Heart crackers
- 6 oz. container Chobani vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
- String cheese (part-skim mozzarella) and Bagel
- Peanut butter and jellysandwich and Powerade (2 cups)
- Yogurt ( 8 oz.) low-fat mixed with 1/2 cup granola cereal
So next time you do your speed and agility training, speed exercises or agility training, refuel to make your hard work count.
Every year over 300 of the best college football players in the country are invited by the National Football League (NFL) to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis Indiana. Why? Millions of dollars are at stake for the teams and players in salary, bonus’ , endorsements, winnings, appearances and more.
There the athletes showcase their athletic skills and abilities to NFL top executives, coaching staffs, player personnel departments and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams prior to NFL draft. So why is this necessary when teams have already seen these athletes play game after game either live on Saturdays or on TV?
The answer is simple, the NFL places great value on the fundamentals of a true athlete. No matter how often a scout has seen an athlete play the game live or on the screen, the NFL needs to evaluate an athlete’s raw ability in speed exercises, strength training workouts and speed and agility drills. In other words, the yards run, the passes caught, the touchdowns scored are not a factor at the combine. It’s all about measuring how fast, agile, strong and explosive the prospect is – athleticism. The following are the actual drills used at the NFL Combine to judge potential draft picks.
This is the main event. Teams look for explosiveness and speed from a dead start. The athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. One of the most important speed exercises.
Every athlete is given the weight of 225 pounds to bench press. The objective is to see how many times he can bench press this weight, which is called repetitions, or reps for short. The repetition factor measures the athletes endurance. This also tells a lot about the work ethic of the athlete in college and whether he attended strength training workouts.
The vertical jump starts with the athlete standing flat-footed while his reach is measured. The athlete then is told to jump and touch a the highest point he can, which is a flag in the series of flags above him. The difference in the standing reach and the flag is the vertical jump measurement. This exercise evaluates the lower-body explosion and power .
The broad jump tests the athlete’s lower-body explosion, lower-body strength and balance. From a starting point, the athlete stands balanced . He then jumps out as far as he can while sticking the landing.
3 Cone Drill
The 3 cone drill tests an athlete’s speed and agility. It measures ability to change directions at a high speed. From a starting line, three cones are place in an L-shape. The athlete runs 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.
Remember the suicide drills in PE? The shuttle begins with the athlete starting in a three-point stance and exploding out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.
Now Its Your Turn
The NFL, through research and experience has put together drills and exercises it uses to evaluate potential million dollar athletes. If you are a serious athlete, or just someone who wants to be a better athlete, practice the speed and agility exercises above and who knows, and maybe someday you too will be invited to the combine.
Speed and agility training drills can be used by both recreational and professional athletes to improve balance, coordination, and strength. Using a variety of different speed and agility exercises will work the muscles in different combinations and intensity, giving you the best result. Speed exercises focus on building speed and quickness. While you want to increase your overall running speed, you should also focus on the quickness needed to initiate movement from a variety of stationary positions. Agility drills focus on the ability to react and change direction of movement quickly while maintaining balance.
Whether you are a committed athlete or just looking for exercises to tone muscles and burn off calories, these basic speed and agility exercise ideas are a good place to start.
Box drills are done using a box or raised platform. Boxes are normally one to three feet high. Drills using boxes involve jumping from ground level onto the box, from the box to the ground, or from box to box. Drills can involve jumping either forward, backwards, or side to side. As you become more experienced you can increase the box height for jumps and increase the distance between boxes for box to box jumps. Here is one example of a basic box drill:
- Stand beside the box with you feet directly underneath you.
- Jump up and sideways onto the box and land with you feet directly underneath you.
- Without hesitating, immediately jump back down to the beginning point.
- Repeat without stopping between jumps.
Form is more important than speed. Maintain correct body position and keep the chest up and don’t tuck the legs when jumping. Do the same drill from the opposite side of the box.
Cones are the most common and most recognizable tool in the training area and are used in a huge variety of speed and agility training drills. Generally cones are used to mark the point at which a change of action and/or direction should take place. Here is one variation of a basic cone drill called the box cone drill:
- Set up four cones in a square pattern five yards apart.
- Start at the first cone facing forward and sprint to the second cone.
- Remain facing forward and side shuffle to the third cone.
- Remain facing forward and backpedal to the fourth cone.
- Turn and sprint back to the first cone.
- Maintain proper form throughout
Again, this drill can be varied by starting in the opposite direction.
Agility Ladder Drills
An agility ladder is like a rope ladder laying on the ground and forming squares that run in a straight li
ne. They are a very versatile tool for speed and agility training. The variations of exercises that can be done are endless. The goal of an athlete is to complete a predetermined sequence of moves up and do
wn the ladder as quickly as possible while maintaining correct body position and balance. Here are some example sequences:
- Jumping forward (then backwards) with both feet from one ladder box to the next down the length of the ladder.
- High step running the length of the ladder with both feet landing in each box.
- Hopping with one foot from one box to the next
- Step sideways from one side of the ladder, into the box, then out of the box on the other side. Repeat from the other side.
- All of these can be varied by facing different directions.
It is always more important to maintain good body position than it is to achieve great speed in the beginning. The speed and agility will come from the conditioning that all these drills provide. Progress will be noticeable after only a few sessions.
One of the most neglected aspects of speed and agility training is the need for rest periods between drills. Working “all out” for an extended period does not improve speed and agility. You must use a good ratio of work to rest during your speed and agility training. That ratio will vary somewhat depending on the exercise being done, conditioning, and other factors. Some specific drills will have a recommended work to rest ratio, but if not, I would suggest a 1:4 ratio. For example, if you sprint for 10 seconds….rest for 40 seconds before the next sprint. This rest to work ratio is part of the process of stressing and relaxing the muscles that leads to better speed and agility results in the long term.
This is a very basic look at the components of speed and agility training. The training program you create for yourself or your team will depend on the sport involved and the results you want to achieve. Whatever that is, you can put together a very effective speed and agility training program using these simple tools
and a little planning.
People always like to hear the secret, the quick gains how to, the massive improvements in just 3 short weeks and I am going to give to you straight: Massive gains in a couple of “short” weeks are quite possible BUT, they are not for newbies. Let me elaborate on this, when you are first starting any endeavor, both physical and mental, you can expect to get easy increases at the beginning. Training for speed and agility is no different. This is despite improper training, unoptimal eating habits, drinking, yes, a newbie can get past all of these simply because there is so much untapped potential in his body.
Harsh lesson: most newbies won’t get that far after that, and then, frustrated, they will quit. I will wager that this is especially true for speed and agility training. There are some very different approaches in the world: some people, called information junkies, like to read up and know everything there is to know about a subject before doing anything at all. At the other extreme, there are those people who jump in and just start doing. Neither are doing it right. The information junkie people are wasting time, they are throwing away time that could be used to start molding their minds and bodies into a machine of explosive speed and agility for the sake of the most quantity of information. I am not going to even address the topic of lousy information and people teaching stuff that simply is not effective, just to throw you a bone. Then when frustrated and plateauing, get you to buy their products – that don’t work.
The people who just jump into speed and agility training seem to have an advantage in the beginning, this is because if you do anything, just getting off your couch and doing any speed and agility training, you will get some results. This is due to the untapped potential I’ve mentioned earlier. But, the problem with this approach is that they will tend to flatline pretty fast and after that, doing more of the same thing will unlikely produce any more improvement. This is why people who run laps every day will not improve their speed, they will just build more and more endurance, which is fine, as long as that is what they are going after. This is where the info junkies have the edge, this is because:
Practice does not make Perfect, Perfect practice makes Perfect
…and info junkies have the best chance of eventually coming across the good information and getting the right speed and agility training.
Another problem for people who just jump into things is that they may learn improper techniques. Tiger Woods had to relearn his whole swing, because it was not a sustainable swing and would have eventually led to carrier ending injuries. This is the problem most frequent with people who train without guidance. So the best thing is to get the best of both worlds, you need proper guidance and you need to take action. In the world of speed and agility training this is even more true due to the high risk of injury.
Speed and agility training has a higher incidence of injuries and a higher severity of injuries than training for strength, endurance, muscle size, etc. Take a good look at my ankle and learn from my mistakes. Six screws, a titanium plate and 2 months in crutches. Hope you’ll be smarter than me.
This is why I must caution you to be aware than speed and agility training is a long term process. If you want to get anywhere worth going in the shortest amount of time, then think of things in terms of a two year process. This is just a guideline. I don’t want to make this article any longer so let me tell you that I hope you have enjoyed and got something out of it.
Leave a comment and tell me what you though of the article: here.
All the best,
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