Components of a Speed Program
following information was obtained in a clinic with permission of
Kevin O'Donnell, Speed Dynamics:
to Sprint Training
The importance of strength
and power development should not be understated. Strength gains
will not produce proportional improvements in speed. Doubling the
weight will not cut the athlete's race time in half.
In training, everything
you do becomes permanently etched into the neuro-muscular system.
The athlete in training in a workout must avoid doing lazy drills,
lackluster exercise routines, or general training that strays too
far from the movements specific to their event specialty.
Whatever distance you
are in training, reduce the time you spend on the ground or in the
air for each stride taken by just one/one hundredth (0.01) of a
second. The improvement at the finish is a dramatic five-tenths
(0.5) of a second. Such an improvement is the difference between
gold and bronze.
Whole/Part/Whole Teaching Method
During the race the athlete
will experience many demands. For an athlete to excel, the race
must be broken down into easily learnable parts. Over the course
of the entire sprint race many components can be identified. After
each component is mastered individually in training they can reassemble
to produce a successful race.
Components of the Sprint Race
The warm-up; the start;
acceleration; transition; maximum velocity; speed maintenance; finishing
form; coast & stop; restoration & recovery.
30-meter fly test
Evaluating Sprint Endurance
Evaluating Speed Endurance
Evaluating Special Endurance
Measuring Aerobic Capacity
Measuring Elastic Strength
Evaluating Elastic Power
the Mechanics of Sprinting:
Fast Claw Drill
the Maximum Velocity Phase:
in the maximum velocity of the athlete. It should be your first
training focus with sprints. Gains in this performance phase are
the foundation of success in sprinting. The duration of this segment
of a sprint race is often only 2-4 seconds. Its impact on finishing
results is profound.
The maximum speed capacity
of the athlete relies less on strength and power than other racing
phases do. It makes sense to begin this training early in the season
when strength is lacking. In coaching maximum speed the most important
drills the sprinter will ever perform are as follows:
Alternate Fast Leg Drill
Continuous Fast-Leg Drill
Command Fast-Leg Drill
Complex Fast-Leg Drills
(No more than 2-4 seconds)
Reps & Recovery Notes for Maximum Speed Training:
should be introduced with a single set of three repetitions. As
training continues, this can progress toward a total of three sets
with three repetitions in each set. For elite athletes 800-900 meters
per week is appropriate.
is the goal. Full recovery is required between bouts of running.
For elite athletes, as
much as ten minutes between reps and twenty to thirty minutes between
sets may be appropriate.
Speed development sessions
can be utilized two to three times per week. Coach, allow 48-72
hours of recovery time between maximum speed training session, depending
on the duration and the training conditioning of the athlete.
If sufficient recovery
of the athlete(s) is in doubt prior to a speed training session,
a stopwatch test can offer valuable feedback. If the performer shows
a marked increase in the split times registered from previous trials,
it may be wise to postpone the speed work session until the next
Acceleration Phase and Transition Phase:
Once the development
of the maximum velocity capacity has begun, the next sprint training
focus should be improving acceleration. Pure acceleration begins
after the first two steps out of the start and blends into the transition
phase after the tenth or twelfth step. The duration of the transition
phase is typically six to eight strides.
for General & Specific Strength:
in the dry sand is the place to begin. As a foundation of general
conditioning is developed with running in the hills (running surface
dirt), you can increase the demands on the athlete by running hill
Running up a hill or
incline requires the athlete to lift the recovered leg through a
greater range of motion than on a flat surface. The athlete must
therefore exert a force against the ground sufficient to lift the
center of mass somewhat higher than normal. The result is an increase
in strength and power where the sprinter needs it most.
the Movements of Acceleration:
As you work
to improve the strength and power of your athletes, you must simultaneously
develop the specific skills of the acceleration phase.
LEARNING PROGRESSION FOR DEVELOPING ACCELERATION SKILLS
To teach the
desired body position and piston-like movement of the legs.
To mimic the
sprinting action found in acceleration without fighting the forces
of gravity and to improve stride frequency and refine the direction
of forces applied to the track.
pillar strength, stride rate, and energy system fitness while replicating
the movements of acceleration.
the athlete so that desired body position and movements of acceleration
can be rehearsed at sprint speeds.
To increase forces applied to the track and identify when desired
body position is compromised.
To develop transition skills.
Chase and Race:
To improve transition skills, pillar strength, and energy system
A collection of 10 rungs attached by cords identifying the approximate
spacing of each foot placement throughout the acceleration phase.
Sprinting with this training tool will allow for an exact programming
of the neuromuscular system.
Though the "start" begins a race, you should not begin your training
focusing on this racing segment. Starting skills require a great
amount of strength and power and neuro-muscular coordination.
Finish technique is a skill that should be taught, developed and
practiced. Acquiring this skill can often make the difference between
winning and losing a sprint race.