How to build speed and agility

How to build speed and agility

For the majority of athletes, speed is the difference between a win and a loss. Getting to the ball first, moving to make a tackle, reacting to create, or stop, an opportunity. It all comes down to how quick those feet move. Unfortunately this isn't gained simply by a resistance band on your knees, or a speed parachute tied to your back. 

There are 4 main, yet simple, rules when trying to improve your speed. Quality of the training is top of that list, followed by the increase of the ability to produce and absorb force in sprinting, then length and frequency of stride, and finally the capacity to endure speed workouts.

The above can be achieved with multiple different exercises, including; resisted sprinting, plyometric work and Olympic lifting. Utilising these over a period of time will help improve the muscles used when powerfully propelling your body forward.

Building speed isn't just about cone drills and restricted rest. You need to focus on the science behind how your body works, and how agility is developed through training. You don't need to just focus on conditioning, more turn your attention to the movements involved in sprinting. Lateral movements, shuffling and just straight sprinting can all help work the muscles that make you fast.

On your speed sessions, research exercises that help in the lateral, shuffling and sprint movements to build over time. Anything less than 100% is pointless when trying to upgrade your performance. Work on creating a bigger engine for yourself, in turn, creating more power and drive from each stride.

Don't forget, agility isn't just about running in a straight line. A big powerful engine driving your body forwards, needs efficient brakes to match. Coordination with your bodyweight and feet help ten fold with this. When slowing down make sure you are stomping your feet and lowering your hips, work on the control of your body, it's pointless being rapid if you can't change direction. 

Finally, think outside the box, fast feet can only get you so far. Spend time on the mental side, understanding the game itself, the opponent and their movements. If you can read the game well, you put yourself at an advantage already before a step is even taken head to head with your rival. So work on keeping your mind just as fast as your feet!

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