Speed Training

In my training advice, I have talked about six racing and training abilities. However, most people find it difficult to grasp the concept of speed skills and some of them ignore this part altogether.

Nevertheless, athletes must realize that learning speed skills and allotting more time to this skill can dramatically enhance their racing performances. Unlike other abilities of endurance, force or power, it is much easier to learn and improve the speed skills.

So, let’s have a brief introduction to speed skills:

Speed Skills

When I use the word “Skills”, I am referring to the ability to perform smooth and proficient movements in sports. For instance, if you are good at pedaling the bike in a smooth round motion without any trouble, you have the skills to ride the bike. If you have the ability to run by planting your feet flat onto the ground, you have the skills to run.

On the contrary, if you land on your heels while running, it would not justify the meaning of being skillful. Similarly, if you are riding a technical trail, it needs an appropriate speed and the ability to pass over the obstacles easily.
Also, another great example of skills is to swim through the water with ease rather than wasting energy in creating water bubbles around the body.

Now, when we talk about the term “Speed”, it actually means the pace at which the skilled movements are performed. Remember, we are not talking about the pace of the body, but the speed at which your legs and arms are moving.

So, you will not be considered master of your art until or unless you perform your skills at a high speed with rhythm. For instance, you need to pedal in an efficient manner at a high pace with rhythm to master the skills of pedaling.

How can you learn Speed Skills?

There are many strategies for learning speed skills. However, dividing complex movements into smaller sections is considered as the best strategy for learning these skills.

Once the movements are divided, one has to practice each section in isolation with complete dedication and commitment. This dedication makes an athlete habitual and eventually he masters the skill. Generally, athletes take more time to master complex and difficult movements.

If we take the previous example of pedaling, the critical part is developing the skill to transform the movements at the time of stroke to forward and downward rather than upward and backward. As far as the isolation is concerned, you can simply isolate this practice by using only one leg while paddling.

Once you start practicing it in isolation, you will notice the point you need to focus and quickly learn the skill. Similarly, you can isolate different parts of an exercise. For example, if you feel comfortable, you can take off the weight from the pedal at the time of upstroke and transform the movement from the bottom of the stroke.

You must remember that there is no point of developing advanced abilities like endurance or power, if you do not have excellent speed skills. It would be nothing more than wasting your time.

For example, if an Olympic power lifter does not have excellent skills and technique, he would not be able to perform well in clean and jerk movement with heavy weights. There would not be any loss in his strength, but the lack of speed skills will not allow him to use his strength in doing a clean and jerk.

While working on base period abilities, I dedicate one workout to speed skills on a weekly basis for any sports. Also, I recommend the athletes to not ignore working on speed skills during the development of their base period abilities.

You need to work on your speed skills with a high frequency. Try to work on frequently, but in short bursts and you will be amazed to see the benefits. Similarly, one must not train in long sessions. In fact, the strategy should be to train daily, but in short periods.

A Few Key Points to Remember

Efficiency should be preferred over speed because the more speed you have the more efficient you will become.

Achieving 10% improvement in efficiency will be equally beneficial for you as a 10% improvement in aerobic capacity. However, improving efficiency is a lot easier goal to achieve than improving aerobic capacity.

Finally, never let your training get mediocre!

Good luck!

Terry

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