Speed is valued.
Whether it is in our cars or athletes, people demand quick performance.
Speed was believed to be a natural ability, either you have it or not.
Natural ability can help, especially at high levels of performance, but speed and agility can be trained.
Running and cutting is typically not taught but discovered individually at a very young age.
This was natural when we ran daily for hunting, efficiency was necessary.
Modern day amenities such as chairs, cars and computers, change our muscle recruitment and quality.
This means that something we did naturally we have to relearn to undo the impact of our current lifestyles.
The cornerstone to speed training is to first perform a movement screen in order to correct any current dysfunctions.
With movement corrected, proper running technique can be taught to take advantage of the body’s biomechanical structure.
This includes proper upper body alignment with sufficient hip drive during straight acceleration. These techniques are more familiar to track athletes, but can be overlooked in other sporting endeavors.
Agility is this component combined with deceleration and change of direction.
This can be taught as well, especially deceleration.
Many athletes will try to stand up and perform their best Looney Tune impression of a slippery turn.
The correct way is to lower to the ground and stomp into the ground to dissipate the forces.
This will also get you in the correct position to apply force in the opposite direction.
Speed clinics and camps can help teach these techniques to apply to off season training to gain an edge over the competition.