Speed kills. Imagine how many games are won or lost by hundredths of a second. The fastest teams and players are typically the ones who come through in clutch moments to hit that game winning shot, score the winning touchdown or make the game saving play.
Those who know how to get athletes faster understand it is a process, not something that happens overnight. While there is a massive genetic component to speed, it is still a trainable skill. This is a no B.S. approach to getting faster. Here are the three keys that have stood the test of time.
- Strength Train
Strength training is essential to getting faster, especially for improving acceleration. It’s simple physics. Imagine you are a car. Your strength is equivalent to the size and power of your engine. The larger the engine you can put in your car, the faster it will accelerate.
Increase your relative strength (how strong you are compared to your bodyweight) to accelerate faster. This doesn’t just apply to sprinting. Jumping ability is highly correlated with relative strength too.
It’s very easy to get someone strong. The only catch is that it takes a while. We’re talking months to years, depending on someone’s genetic ability and potential. If it were easy, everyone would be really strong.
Here’s a shocking tip. To get faster, you must sprint. Sprinting is a skill. As such, you must practice it to get faster.
Every sprint, if the goal is to improve speed, should be performed with maximal rest and done under no fatigue. A rough guide to gauging how much rest is needed is one minute for every 10 yards sprinted. So a maximal 20 yard sprint requires close to 2 minutes for complete recovery. Any sprint performed under fatigue will improve conditioning. Not speed. Remember this next time you do sprints and ask yourself, “Am I getting faster? Or more conditioned?”.
- Do the work consistently
The most important factor for getting faster is consistent effort. You must strength train and sprint consistently for a long period of time. And I mean months to years of effort. This is what separates most people. To drastically change your speed, “it must be an everyday thing. Not a sometimes thing” (shoutout to Vince Lombardi for this gem). Put in the work over a long period of time and you will make massive improvements.
The gains in speed you can expect to make over a year vary greatly depending on age, strength, training age and skill acquisition. The one thing you can guarantee is that you won’t reach your full speed potential if you don’t strength train, sprint and do so consistently. I hope this helps!