Speed and Agility Training for Athletes

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Why Speed and Agility Training?

Speed is an attribute that is desirable in the everyday activity of an individual. It is also essential in almost all sports, as the faster individual or team possesses a significant advantage over the opponent.

Speed involves moving as fast as possible in a straight line from the starting point to the finish point. On the other hand, agility is given as the ability of a fast, whole-body movement involving the changing of direction or speed in response to a stimulus. Both speed and agility are, thus, essential attributes to have as an athlete.

Speed and agility training ere exercises put in place to work all your legs and core muscles. They also work the tendons of your body. These exercises ultimately help to improve your speed and agility. Putting in much effort in developing these essential basic skills (that is, speed and agility), will help to increase how fast you move. And also build a solid base for your body to be more explosive in all its movement.

Also, if you have enough agility, you would be able to increase other vital components of your performance as an athlete. These extra components include balance, flexibility, and coordination, which are the three prerequisite factors in the development of skill.

Enhances the effectiveness and efficiency in your footwork:

Preserving your stamina throughout your game is not always easy. But you must do this so that you don’t feel drained at the latter part of your game. Thus, the need to be more aware of your movements so that you don’t waste your stamina and energy during a race.

A fundamental way to be efficient with your movements is to boost your footwork. And this can be achieved by adding speed and agility drills to your training routines. With speed and agility exercises, you will know how to time your feet movement accurately. Also, you will be able to perceive the right direction to go correctly. This will help to preserve your much-needed energy as an athlete.

Improves your explosive power:

Some athletes have rapid first step and weave through defenders with ease that you wonder at their great skill. This is a show of explosive power. This skill does not come automatically but by night and days of hard work as well as spending adequate time on speed and quickness.

Explosiveness is a show of strength and power. It also indicates that it has excellent balance and flexibility, which results in training with speed and agility drills. Speed and agility exercises help to build your lower body and also enhances your hip movement and core muscle strength. With these components, you will be more explosive in all your movements, whether you are sprinting or leaping.

Quickens your reaction time:

There will always be unexpected situations when playing a game in any sport. During this unexpected situation, players will need to make split-second decisions. In many instances, there are times the player will make the wrong choice or fail to react as fast as possible. This is a typical learning curve that all athletes go through. It is thus necessary to make an effort so that the mistake of failing to react fast to unexpected situations will not happen again.

A critical way to fast track your reaction time is to engage in and be consistent in carrying out agility drills. Varieties of agility drills will help you simulate the environment on the field as well as on the court. Reaction time has to do with it how fast your mind will envision what is about to happen and ultimately, how your body can follow the instructions given by your mind.

Enhancing your flexibility, balance, quickness, and mental agility will help to take your body coordination to a higher level. Great athletes are distinguished from good athletes by their ability to transform from being a one-dimensional athlete to one that can showcase multiple facets of athleticism. In simple terms, coordination separates great athletes from good ones. This attribute can become a part of you if you actively take up agility training.

Furthermore, agility drills help to enhance your mental perception and vision. Thus, quickening your reaction time to the changing circumstances of your game.

Prevents the occurrence of injury:

An essential factor that can prevent you from reaching your best performance is when you get injured often. This is because sustaining different injuries, be it minor or significant, causes you to encounter difficulty in returning to the sport in your best form. Thus, to have an excellent performance in any game, as an athlete, you need to use both physical and mental gifts.

Possessing an increased level of speed and agility will offer you a higher chance of preventing injuries. This is because speed and agility exercises will help you to be more flexible and balanced. Being flexible enough means your joints and muscles will be loosened. And having loose joints means you will be able to extend your movements in wide ranges of motion without being hurt.

Also, improving your agility will help to decrease your recovery period. Building your agility will offer you the ability to dive deep into weightlifting drills. And also, strength enhancement exercises without abusing your body. This is because agility drills target your body’s musculoskeletal system, the system which is responsible for healing the soreness of the body after workouts.

Moreover, working on your agility will not only prevent you from sustaining injuries but also decrease your time of recovery. With this, you will be able to work out more often that you will develop your skills faster. As well as learn more ways to improve your gameplay.

Thus, putting in more time to speed and agility training will help you to excel in your game. And, ultimately, reach your goals even faster than you think.

Speed Drills

Speed training requires you to have strength in the arms and legs to move your body forward. The stronger your muscles become, the faster your body will be able to move. This training is one of the easiest that will help you to improve in your game as an athlete.

You must adjust your speed training according to your sport. You must ensure that you replicate some of the moves you will be doing during competition.

The following are exercises that will help to enhance your speed:

Sprint training:

This method of developing speed requires you to have a full dynamic warm-up beforehand. This is to prevent you from injury as well as prepare your muscles for maximum output.

The sprint training you undertake for speed depend on the demands of your sport. For instance, a track and field athlete requires more top-end speed than a basketball player. So, it requires varieties of sprint training for speed. Some of the sprint exercises that help to develop acceleration and speed include:

Sprint starts:

This exercise is great for all athletes irrespective of their age. These are short sprints of 5-10 yards that help develop your acceleration. There are different kinds of sprint starts exercises that you can undertake. This includes block starts, waterfall starts, staggered stance starts, and so on.

Sprint starts are usually included early in a speed training workout, immediately after the dynamic warm-up.

Resisted sprints:

This exercise is undertaken with a partner or with bands. This exercise helps to develop power in your legs. Thus, increasing your acceleration and speed.

The use of resistance bands adds resistance to your sprinting. To perform this sprint, you need a partner to jog behind you connected to the same band. By this, you get the required resistance.

Hill sprints:

This sprinting exercise involves the use of hills. It is excellent for enhancing your acceleration, speed, and conditioning.

For speed training purposes, the hill sprints should be short. To ensure this, you need to pick a hill that takes 5-15 seconds to sprint up, and they make a full recovery between each set.

Plyometric exercises

Plyometric is an exercise that involves repeated fast stretching and contracting of muscles. It is performed to increase the power of your muscles. It is a crucial exercise for developing your speed.

There are varieties of the plyometric exercise that you can incorporate into your speed training program. You can start with an exercise that involves bodyweight as a beginner. And then proceed to more advanced ones that need the use of weights and bands.

Plyometric exercises are not conditioning. So, to get the largest increase in power from this drill, you are required to put in a great effort with a full recovery.

Given below are some plyometric exercises that are excellent for speed training.

Broad jumps:

This is one of the basic plyometric exercises which is suitable for athletes of any age. This speed exercise helps to develop explosive power.

This exercise involves starting in an athletic position with your feet parallel. And then jump out as fast as you can. As a beginner, start with one jump at a time; gather yourself up before doing another jump. For an advanced athlete, you can do successive jumps like 3-5 broad jumps in a row.

Resisted broad jumps is another advanced version of broad jumps that requires the use of a band.

Squat jumps:

This exercise involves going into a quick squat before jumping vertically as high as you can. You can start with one jump at a time with a few seconds of rest. Then you can progress to consecutive jumps in a row without rest in each set. Like other plyometric exercises, squat jumps help you to run faster and, at the same time, higher. Thus, making you a better athlete.

Agility Drills

Agility training involves doing a variety of movements in a quick way. Agility training helps to give you the right balance and strong core to support your body to move through the planes of motion in your game.

Also, agility training will help you to speed up, slow down as at when due. Also, it enhances you to change direction more rapidly and efficiently.

Below are some of the agility exercises you can perform to build your agility.

Forward running, high-knee drills:

This agility training exercise helps to improve your foot coordination and speed for all field sport athletes. To do this exercise, you only need a basic speed ladder and your body.

This exercise entails running with high knees forward through the ladder and then landing in every ladder space. Proper form is vital for this simple agility exercise. Make sure you land on the balls of your feet and move forward with your arms.

Dot drills:

Appropriate leg strength is a prerequisite to achieving agility and explosive speed. Basic dot drills are one of the exercises that help to increase your knee and ankle strength. This gives you the added stability that you need for field sports, basketball, racket sports, and soccer. The dot drills allow athletes to change from one direction to another with ease.

To do this, you can make use of a dot drill mat, or you make use of a tape to place a small ‘X’ on the ground in the pattern of a five (just as seen on dice). Firstly, get warmed up, and you can do this by jumping from dot to dot with both feet at once. Then, proceed to one foot hopping, after this, you can follow a specific jumping pattern.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, speed and agility are vital characteristics that an athlete must have to perform excellently in almost all sport. These attributes allow athletes to have improved control over their body while reducing the risk of injury. With these and more, athletes can achieve peak performance in their game.

The need to develop speed and agility makes it essential for athletes to undertake speed and agility training. Effective carrying out of the drills given above, and many more speed and agility drills available for practice will help in the rapid development of speed and agility in you. With this, you’re sure going to make an excellent athlete.

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