Over the course of the summer we have made some minor changes to our speed and jump training that has translated to some major improvements in our athletes. In team sports speed is king. If we can make an athlete faster than we have increased their potential for performance on the field or court.
We have focused much of our efforts on improving acceleration and multi-directional speed by exposing our athletes to various starting positions, sled work, and reactive agility. In the past we would test our 10-yard split and vertical jump at the end of every month and we would track our results. We used the jump mat and a laser timer to record both 10-yard split and vertical jump. I began to notice that our sprint and jumps were improving the more frequently we recorded them. Using the jump mat I saw some of our athletes add 2 to 3 inches in the matter of a month. I began to realize that the more our athletes saw immediate feedback in their performance they would try harder and harder to beat their previous score.
I was listening to a presentation by renowned strength coach Mike Boyle, and he stated that at his facility they started tracking 10 yard splits every week and were noticing huge improvements in speed. I immediately identified with this strategy and started implementing it into our sessions.
When we put the athletes on the lasers and jump mat they perform at 100% effort because the objective feedback in the form of the score pushes them to try to get their best time or jump. Each athlete writes his or her score up for the day and tries to beat it the next week. We only perform 3-4 reps and we wave the sprint and jump variations in 3-week blocks.
Here is the aha moment. Our athletes are now performing 6 to 8 max effort sprints and jumps every week! The volume and distance are controlled so that no overtraining occurs. Now take those numbers and add them over the course of a month or the course of a year! Our athletes are having the opportunity to run 24 times as fast as possible over the course of a month. Measure that against an athlete that only sprints when showing up to practice. Or performs hours of “mechanics” work at another speed training facility. Our athletes are going to be much faster as we are eliciting forces that most athletes are not typically exposed to during weight room only sessions. Furthermore, the micro dosed sprinting acts as an injury prevention tool towards hamstring strains and pulls. I am very excited about the results we are seeing with this new implementation and if you are a team sport athlete that needs to get faster I encourage you to hop on board!