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Drills for acceleration

Answered By Larson Rett


What are your favorite drills for teaching acceleration and top speed running?


There are two main components to teaching speed: acceleration and maximum velocity. The goal for maximizing the acceleration component is applying big force in a short amount of time in the proper direction. For pre-college athletes, pure acceleration, or the point at which they reach their top speed, occurs between 7 and 10 yards. The goal for the maximum velocity component is to maintain the top speed that was reached during pure acceleration. To teach pure acceleration, we use several different drills. • Wall Sprints: In this drill, athletes lean against a wall, arms extended forward, and alternate punching knees forward, simulating running. The wall provides stability for the athlete’s body. The goal is to teach proper body, hip, ankle and knee position for running. • Resisted Acceleration: These drills use the same techniques as Wall Sprints, but take away the stability of the wall, making the athletes rely on themselves for stability with their abs, lower back and other stabilizing muscles. • Acceleration Ladder: In performing this drill, the ladder provides the athlete with a blueprint for placing each step when running. • Contrast Training: This uses some of the same equipment as Resisted Acceleration, but in these drills the coach will release the resistance at a certain point so the athlete can run at full speed. As athletes reach top speed, the goal becomes maintaining that speed, or maximum velocity. The main drills that we use to teach maximum velocity are: • Technical Build-Up: The goal of this drill is to emphasize proper running form while concentrating on certain areas of the body, such as hip, foot and leg position. • Ankling: In this drill, pressure is concentrated on the ball of the foot to increase usage of the lower leg muscles during maximum velocity. • Buttkick: The motion of the heel snapping quickly towards the glutes helps teach athletes how to begin the running stride. • Step-Over: This drill is the first introduction to the essential circular action of the leg in maximum velocity. The drills focus on stepping over the height of the opposite knee. • Straight Leg Shuffle/Bound: These drills focus on the proper movements for preparing the lower leg and foot for contact with the ground, and the proper movements once the foot makes contact with the ground.