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Analyzing the Speed Requirements of a Sport

This is an excerpt from Developing Speed-2nd Edition by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association & Ian Jeffreys.

As outlined in the chapter 6, developing effective gamespeed requires an under-standing of how speed is applied to achieve sport-specific tasks. Clearly, there will always be differences between sports, and this can be made even more challenging by the differences between playing positions within the same sport, the differences dictated by the tactical approach of individuals and teams, and the spatial setup experienced at any one time. Luckily, the reverse engineering process allows for a deeper understanding of these variables and facilitating an approach that best engenders transfer between training and performance. This should always be the first stage in developing a sport-specific speed development program. Only when the “why” of speed application is established can speed training truly reflect context, thereby ensuring that key contextual considerations are always kept in mind whenever a training method is used (3, 4).

While getting to the “why” of movement must always be the first stage in any sport-specific training program, once the tasks are identified focus can shift to the specific and general capacities required to best perform these tasks. Here asking a few key questions can help further refine the approach to training. Working through the following questions will reveal a clearer picture of the speed requirements of a specific sport, which in turn are addressed through a well-planned development program.

  • What distances are typically run?
  • In what direction does movement typically occur?
  • What are the typical starting methods?
  • What are the typical movement combinations?
  • What considerations trigger and control movement?
  • What is the temporal distribution of speed efforts?
  • How does speed relate to sport-specific skills and requirements?

These questions provide a framework on which to build a speed development program consisting of exercises and drills that maximize the transfer of basic speed qualities into sport-specific gamespeed.

More Excerpts From Developing Speed 2nd Edition