When athletes, and the parents of athletes, first contact us about their interest in training one of the primary goals they have is improve their change of direction and 1st step quickness. There are countless underlying reasons for why an athlete would struggle with those concepts. We will discuss those at length during our #FixYourSpeedSaturday series that we will begin this weekend. So getting back to MOCKtober, there are three main components that we will discuss that are missing from most speed/agility programs available to area athletes.
1) Basic Change of Direction (COD) components are never taught. Most programs that we see are run by former athletes that have the ability to rent space in turf facilities or a random field somewhere and they set up agility drills using cones or even worst just set up an agility ladder (obviously we are not huge fans of this training method, get more info on that here, http://www.lewisfp.com/…/you-dont-use-a-speedagility-ladder…). The problem with this method of training is it is very hard to teach basic COD concepts, especially in a group, utilizing this method of training. In the video below we highlight our initial phase of exercises we use to teach these basic concepts. From there they become more dynamic by adding more speed and cutting concepts.
2) The end goal of multi-direction speed development is never understood. The end goal of anything we do in a sports performance program is to improve the performance for every athlete within their sport(s). When it comes to most sports that means reactive agility. Reactive agility a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus. In the dynamic nature of sports, having the ability to react to a stimulus (the ball, an opponent, a teammate, etc.) is paramount when it comes to multi-directional speed. Can an athlete produce great force into the ground in the desired direction with the most efficient steps available. That is the formula for success when it comes to change of direction. Having the ability to traverse a series of cones (non-reactive drill) has very little carry-over onto the athletes playing surface.
3) Strength training deficits are never addressed. Most of these "speed & agility programs" that are carried out by coaches renting field space have little to no strength training included. Whether that is due to a lack of facilities, knowledge of strength training programs or the knowledge of how important strength training is when it comes to getting quicker and faster. And how important is strength training when it comes to improving speed development? It is the primary developmental component that will improve a young athletes speed, both linear and multi-directional. We use the analogy or a race car. You can make sure you have the best tires, most aerodynamic body, alignment is perfect, etc. But if you don't upgrade the engine don't expect to see vast improvement on the playing surface. A 4-cylinder engine will only go so fast.
For more information on the multi-directional speed development methods we use at LFP feel free to address your questions in a comment below as we would love to elaborate on what we do beyond the phase 1 elements seen in the video.