Speed Training for Team Sports

We have all heard of the athlete who is lightning fast in a timed sprint but then seems to freeze up on the field. The athlete who is strong, fast, and powerful yet his or her skills in closed training protocols don’t seem to translate to competition.


Often times you will hear coaches say, “they are too stiff, or they don’t have good hips.”


In reality the athlete has not been properly trained to react to the chaotic stimulus around him or her. 9 times out of 10 it’s not a case of the athlete being immobile it is because he or she has only practiced and mastered closed training skills, which do not translate to sport specific speed.


Many coaches train athletes to be strong in the weight room, to jump high, and to run fast in a straight line but they are missing a HUGE piece of athletic development. Teaching an athlete to accelerate and produce force is only one aspect of the sport speed equation and many of the drills utilized are practiced in a closed environment. This means the athlete is instructed to perform a predictable task that never changes. For example: run a pro-agility drill, shuffle through a speed ladder, run a 40-yard sprint. All of these tasks required are predictable, meaning the athlete’s environment doesn’t change. While these types of drills are great for teaching a young athlete the proper movement patterns or for a track athlete who doesn’t need to react to stimuli in a team sport competition, they do not adequately meet the criteria to train team sport speed.  


In reality sport is chaotic in nature. Athletes must react to visual, verbal, and auditory cues and be able to change directions, decelerate, and rapidly re-accelerate. Linear speed is a very small aspect of sport speed. So, the athlete with the fastest 40-yard sprint doesn’t always play the fastest on the field. Especially if they have not trained multi-directional speed in a chaotic environment.


At Genesis the majority of our speed training drills for team sport athletes are chaotic in nature. We want to train are athletes to subconsciously react to unpredictable events in the most efficient manner so that it carries over in their sport. If you want to train sport-specific speed that will translate to competitive performance, we highly suggest looking at our group sport performance classes. Schedule your free intro so that we can help you gain an edge this summer on the competition.