Rare Speed Drills To Improve First Step Quickness

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I have received a bunch of comments about an article I posted last week: “BIG DIFFERENCE: Max Speed vs Acceleration.” Let me take it a step further with 3 more tips on how to improve quickness and first step explosiveness.

But before I get into that, I need to re-emphasize the difference between first step and max speed. Different muscle groups and energy systems (depending on duration) will be used. All running isn’t created equal!

3 Tips to Improve First Step Speed
1. Get your first step reps in! To train the explosiveness required to cover ground with the first step….train the first step. Sounds common sense right? Well here is where it gets tricky. Which is better for first step speed? Running 10 x 20 yard sprints or 10 x 5 yard sprints? 10 x 20 is 10 first steps plus another 19 or so yards. 10 x 5 is 10 first steps plus 4 yards. If you are training for pure quickness, choose the shorter distance to minimize fatigue. Here is an example that might bring by point home. If you are training max bench press, you won’t do your max, then 19 push ups and expect your max to get better on the next set. The muscle group would be too fatigued. Same applied to sprinting and quickness.

2. Make quickness an unconcious habit. An athlete must be able to perform quick and explosive steps as if they were second nature. I’ll apply the learning curve to an educational model – Gordon’s 4 Stage Learning Ladder.

Stage 1 – Unconcious incompetence. The athlete doesn’t know that they have a speed deficiency or that they need quickness at all.

Stage 2 – Concious incompetence. The athlete knows that they need to be quick and realize the the value of quickness for their sport.

Stage 3 – Concious competence. The athlete needs to concentrate on the drills in order to perform them. Practice is the most effective way to move to the final stage.

Stage 4 – Unconcious competence. The athlete is quick and fast without thinking about it. Quickness and speed become second nature and they can perform other tasks while being quick (ie, handling a stick in lacrosse, reading blocks in football, etc).

Our goal at Synergy is to get them to stage 4 in the fastest way possible. We practice quickness and then work out to max speed development. Most athletes come in at stage 2 or 3, but rarely 4.

3. Train explosiveness during speed – Jumping isn’t just for dynamic effort training. During our drills, we work deceleration into explosive acceleration. Both two leg and split leg drills are VERY effective and are incorporated in our 6 Weeks of Speed program (found in the Synergy Athletics Store). Check out the video below.

Speed Training Tips Video

The above video is available in HD as well (just double click on it so it opens up in Youtube and change it to higher resolution in the bottom right corner).

– Joe Hashey, CSCS –

 

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