Our linear speed sessions consist of two main focal points: acceleration and top speed.
Acceleration is the first 10-15 yards of your sprint, for most athletes. It is the point of your run where you build up to your maximum speed. There is a transition phase which then leads into top speed, which is your ability to maintain your speed over distance.
During the acceleration phase, we like to talk about two specific visual cues:
Push the ground back.
Acceleration, or the start of any sprint, is about pushing back into the ground. That motion propels you forward with full force. We often discuss this when teaching back leg extension, which is a massive indicator of speed. Athletes will apply this idea with pushup starts and single leg starts, among other drills.
Punch the knees forward.
Punching the knee forward is often an easier cue for athletes to understand. They can visually see the knee in front of them. Punching the knee, or even more precisely, punching the quad forward, will create an explosive burst in your first step. We practice this with any general start, but also the wall drive drill.
Think about these cues the next time you practice your sprint, or share the visual with your athlete to help them understand the basics of faster acceleration.