Dear Athletic Support: In your last column, I saw where you mentioned young athletes attending speed training sessions. I looked into those and saw that they can get pretty costly. Do you have any specific drills or advice on how I could train my son at home in order to get him faster?
—Need 4 Speed
Dear Speed: As the old saying goes, speed kills. It is the single biggest determiner for a young athlete’s success, and for the most part, kids either have it or they don’t.
That said, there are a few drills you can do to give your child an advantage in the speed department.
The first thing you should focus on is flexibility. That’s right. It’s not just about running. Go through a series of stretches prior to every workout. You really want to focus on the hamstrings during this warmup. They can make — or break — a young athlete’s speed.
Once your son is good and warm, think resistance! That’s the secret to building speed. The body has to get used to working harder than it has in the past in order to get faster.
One good resistance workout is running bleachers. Just go to your local football stadium and have your son sprint up the bleachers (or the steps). He can walk back down and catch his breath. Remember: you’re not trying to work on stamina. So your son should be fully recovered before he runs again. In other words, give his breathing time to return to normal.
You can also have him run with a parachute, or have him do high knee kicks while wearing bands. Bands are basically like huge rubber bands. You can order them pretty cheap online. You can even put one around his waist and apply resistance by holding onto the band as he sprints across the field!
In the end, flexibility and resistance are the pillars of speed gains. Once you’ve nailed those two parts of his training regimen, feel free to use your creativity and improvise. The main thing to remember is you’re looking for short bursts of maximum output. An athlete does not get faster when he is tired. So be sure to allow plenty of time between sprints, and you’ll start seeing results soon!
Call For Questions: It’s that time of year again, the time when I have to use valuable column space to ask you — my valued and trusted reader — to take a moment and send me some questions.
Questions don’t have to be long. A couple of sentences are all I need. And I will always work with you to make sure it’s anonymous. That seems to be the biggest concern for most folks when they write in. But remember, I always use a made up name at the end of each question. I’ll even change some of the information if I feel like it might give away too much.
I’m guessing some of my readers don’t have kids involved in athletics, and that’s fine too. You can still send in questions!
If you enjoy reading my column each week, please remember it cannot go on without questions. So send ‘em on!