In sports performance, specifically coaching speed, I think Coaches rely on the ‘eyeball’ test for improvement WAY too much.
Yes, if an athlete cleans up mechanics, they can LOOK like an improved version of themselves. However, the only way to know if an athlete is improving, is the hard and fast measurements we give.
In part 1 of this series, we talked in depth about the assessments used to measure speed.
If you haven’t read that, well, go back and check that sucker out!
If you’ve been keeping up, cool, let’s continue.
Measure Often, Program Less
When we hold our Parisi Performance Coach Certifications, this is inevitably a question that comes up.
“How does the program progress for speed?”
Here’s the answer Coaches always think I’m wrong about.
You see, Coach, improved speed is the outcome. You don’t make progressions for speed. Just like you don’t make progressions for strength in the weight room. Strength is the outcome.
What you do progress is the volume, the sets, the intensity, and the mechanical teaching applications that we covered in part two of this blog series.
Again, if you haven’t read part two, go back, check that out.
Reframe your programming thought process. The program is the program. We run. We run with damn near maximal intensity. The quantifiable changes are the rest times, number of sets, and maybe your length of sprint (however, most facilities are limited by this…I know my facility has a 30 yard track that can’t get any longer).
Reframe from programming variables to assessing intra-workout measurements.
What I mean is that in at least one session a week, and in my opinion every session the athlete trains with you, you should have one application that is quantifiable.
For me, I think this is 10-yard fly sprints or weighted sled sprints. I cover fly sprints in part two of this series, so for the sake of both of our time, I am going to jump right to the weighted sled sprints.
Weighted sled sprints using a percentage of the athlete’s bodyweight has been a game changer for the athletes in my facility. As they progress, the weight increases, just like if they need it, we can decrease the load as well.
Here’s how you do it:
- Measure an athlete’s flying 10-yard sprint as your first application after all mechanical teaching and movement prep work.
- Multiply that 10-yard fly time by 150%- example a 2 second flying 10 x 150% = 3 seconds- this becomes your upper limit.
- Now have the athlete run the same flying 10, but add load via a weight sled. If the athlete runs slower than 3 seconds, the weight is too much.
You, Coach, can play around with the load on the sled while making sure the athlete stays under the upper limit.
So as the athlete gets faster, produces more force, improves mechanically, they can handle more weight on the sled. Tangible feedback. Tangible measurements. Added stimulus to your training.
The only thing it requires is more measurement on your part. That 10-yard fly needs to be measured at the start of this application every time. This accounts for any neurological fatigue OR advancements the athlete may have.
Progress, baby, progress.
So as this blog series comes to an end, I hope you feel more confident in assessing, teaching and applying speed training to your coaching practice.
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