As we get more athletes working here at CP I’m noticing a big trend towards wanting to improve speed. When Dad tells me in great detail his son is perfect athletically in every way, except he could use some more speed, I usually respond with (courtesy of one of the World’s leading strength coaches, Mike Boyle) “name me an athlete that couldn’t use more speed.” I’ve been saying this for a long time, but I can’t get over the truth in it. Even a “fast” kid could stand to be a little faster.
But I’ll get to my real point here. Like the myth of cardio for fat loss, there is another myth out there in the athletic world that speed and strength are two completely different things. Strength is for the meatheads that lift weights and look like professional linebackers, while speed is doing endless footwork drills and hour long speed camps.
That is a myth. Ask any elite level strength coach and they will tell you that the number one factor in speed development is strength. And strength doesn’t come from dodging around agility cones and doing bad box jumps for an hour. And it REALLY doesn’t come from jogging. That’s actually a great way to decrease your speed. (A great way to slow down those “too fast” athletes out there.) And I’m not against speed camps. But they are usually just a series of exhausting drills when a real speed camp would look at the skill of speed and work on developing that through proper progressions. (Not what you normally see at these speed camps.)
So I get a lot of shocked looks on parents faces when I say we take speed development very seriously around here, and that we spend a whole 5 minutes on the skill of speed after our warm up and before our power development work. It’s just wasteful to spend any more time than that on the skill of speed. It’s more important to spend extra time working on mobility and then power and strength development than it is to include a hundred mostly useless drills in a “speed specific” workout. It doesn’t exist.
Same goes for playing other sports or track for speed. It’s not the lacrosse or the track that makes you fast. The guys that are good them are just fast guys. I’m all for playing as many sports as possible, especially during high school and middle school, but not for speed. Play them because they are fun and competitive and you will develop more completely as an athlete by playing multiple sports. Not because they, or some ridiculous speed camp, will make you fast. I wish it was that easy.
To truly get faster you need to be more mobile/stable (in certain areas) and stronger, that’s it.