22 Feb Speed Training for Female Athletes: Make It A Priority
Most speed workouts on Instagram are a scam.
In fact, the majority of social media youth trainers are charlatans. They’re not training absolute speed. They’re selling a quick fix, fancy workout that promises overnight results. They’re putting your kid through workouts that are making them slower.
Speed development is a process. It’s a long pursuit, and oftentimes, a mundane one, to say the least.
Any new female athlete who is 12 and older, and who comes to me with her #1 goal being speed, I will not take her on as a client if she cannot train with me twice a week at minimum. And yes, during the season, too.
Alas, I’ve lost copious amounts of clients and money because I have this bare minimum training frequency requirement, but I refuse to allow money get in the way of what these young girls need to truly build speed.
Ask any track coach what it takes, and they will laugh in your face when you say you want your female athlete to do once a week training to develop speed.Ask any track coach what it takes, and they will laugh in your face when you say you want your female athlete to do once a week training to develop speed. Click To Tweet
Because it is comical.
Speed is a highly advanced skill that requires the athlete to put in hundreds of repetitions to master form – how the foot is striking the ground, how upright the posture holds, how the arms move and maintain stability of the torso and pelvis, how smooth the coordination is between opposite arm and leg.
Beyond the mechanics of speed and practicing these a couple times a week (yes, just as much as your ball work!) athletes need to make time for actual sprinting.
Quick feet drills are a disaster. Ladders don’t improve speed. And the rehearsed tap dancing drills you see on Instagram that last minutes on end are the furthest thing from speed training it gets. Oh, and 8-year-olds should not be tied to sleds and parachutes.Quick feet drills are a disaster. Ladders don't improve speed. And the rehearsed tap dancing drills you see on Instagram that last minutes on end are the furthest thing from speed training it gets. Oh, and 8-year-olds should not be… Click To Tweet
Don’t. Fall. For. Any. Of. It.
What Speed Is
So if it’s not the footwork drills you see on social media, then what is actual speed training?
It’s getting from point A to point B as fast as possible. While it seems simple, it takes an immense amount of consistency and patience. Simple isn’t always easy, after all.
Everyone wants rapid results, so if this is you, you won’t like this blog. Go do a 7-day juice cleanse instead. For everyone else, let’s keep going…
You want your female athlete to bolt past opponents. You want her to sustain her velocity in the moments that matter. Awesome, are you making speed training a priority?
Here is a quiz to see if you are:
– Is she sprinting every week?
– Is she working on sprint mechanics multiple times a week?
– Is she building her muscles with year-round resistance training?
– Is she jumping and hopping?
If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, congrats, you are one of the few who is actually getting their female athlete faster.
Everyone else who said ‘no’ to at least one of these, you aren’t doing enough. Period.
Like I said, there’s no shortcut to speed, and it takes making the above list a priority year-round. Expounding further, the sprints your female athlete is doing need to be of quality and max effort.
If your girl is sprinting for longer than 6 seconds, she is not training speed. If she is not resting for a few minutes, sometimes 5 minutes, she is not training speed.
If she is not timing and recording her results each week, she is not training speed. (Get the FreeLap timing system HERE if you’re serious about accurate data)
If she is not assessing jumping power, she is not training speed.
If she is not going max effort, she is not training speed.
If she is running the majority of the session more than she is resting, she is not training speed.
What’s funny is, when parents watch our speed days, they scratch their heads and ask why we are resting and standing around so much. A good speed workout should never make an athlete tired. It should never make an athlete sore either. And rest is always the priority as well as majority of the workout.
The goal of a speed workout isn’t to run girls into the ground. It is to ensure they feel empowered and explosive.The goal of a speed workout isn't to run girls into the ground. It is to ensure they feel empowered and explosive. Click To Tweet
Training speed is Central Nervous System heavy, and it is one of the most taxing things for the body to execute, and in order to continue to keep that max effort each sprint, athletes must rest in between reps. A good rule of thumb is rest 60 seconds for every 10m or more.
If you finished this article, thanks for making it this far. Too many want instant gratification and forget that training is a long-term process.
My hope is for female athletes to fall in love with the journey, and to say no to the shiny bells and whistles that keeps them from reaching their speed potential.
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