3 Reasons Why Female Athletes MUST Train.

I recently attended an all day youth soccer tryout by the Michigan Fire Juniors for whom we proudly serve as the Speed & Strength Consultants. It was a fabulous event, well organized, lots of competitive spirit, and even more smiles from the young people we interacted with. This is what youth sports is all about.

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that I am BIG on building meaningful relationships with those I come into contact with. One of the best parts of my “job” is witnessing our athletes make their dreams a reality at events like this and meeting new people eager to learn about what we do. I know what you are thinking, there’s a “but” coming. Ever wonder how the phrase “nails on a chalkboard” could be personified? It’s rather simple; a parent will approach you, they will then inquire about training for their daughter, (just wait, the best part is coming) and they say something along the lines of, “I just don’t think she needs to be lifting any weights.” Kill me now.

I find it intriguing when parents will (unknowingly) tell me how to do my job. I wonder if they would put their .02 in when their dentist is performing a root canal? Allow me to put this issue to rest, here are my 3 reasons why female athletes must train:

Reason #1: Last time I checked, it’s still sport(s).

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It does not make them any different because they lack a Y chromosome, steps need to be taken in order for them to be successful. Think of it this way, would you and I simply decide one day we would climb Everest? No? Why not? Well we didn’t prepare for such a feat! I rest my case.

Skill is not developed simply by playing more of the same sport. One concern of parents enrolling their daughter into a training program is that it is not “functional”. What the hell does that mean? I have no idea how to quantify “functional training”. If you want your daughter’s training to be as “functional” as possible, why don’t you just have her play her sport year round? Oh yea, that’s called early specialization, see Is it Wise to Specialize?

Reason #2: Injury Prevention.

Female athletes have a severely enhanced Q-Angle as opposed to their male counterparts. This can be attributed to females having a wider pelvis, shorter femur and increased genu valgum or “knock knee”. All these factors come together to form a “perfect storm” if you will, for an ACL injury.

q angle pic.PNG

Figure 1: Female and Male Q-Angles

Call me crazy, but I would deem it prudent to provide stability to the area in question so it is able to not only survive when put in compromising positions, but thrive. I hate to be crass, but you can either invest in your daughter’s health, success, and well being, or choose to pay for her medical bills. If it’s my daughter, I am paying for training.

Reason #3: Confidence.

The number one transferable trait from the weight room to the field of play is confidence. When any young athlete sees their body become more tone and muscular, feels themselves sprinting faster than the competition, and has more “zip” when she kicks the ball, I would bet my next paycheck that her self-esteem is going to skyrocket.

Having this new sense of invincibility can only bode well when the athlete transitions back to her sport. How do I know? I’ve been doing this for over 12 years, I’ve seen this movie before.

Summary

Now, I will be honest, we do not train a lot of female athletes at my facility. With a name like, “Freak Faktory” I can’t blame them. Having said that, we recently have signed a seventh grade soccer player, Sammy. She has truly been a shot in the arm, she has ignited a fire in me I did not know was inside. The best part about Sammy? She gets it, she loves the process of coming into our facility and preparing for the sport, rather than playing it nonstop. Sammy is special.

She is going to change the way young female athletes view training in West Michigan, I know it. My advice to young coaches who want to get more female athletes involved in training? Find your own “Sammy” and give her everything you got.

Best,

HMC

 

 

Is it Wise to Specialize?

What used to be considered taboo is now seen as a natural transition in a youth athlete’s career. Gone are the days of free play, problem solving, and simply “being a kid” where a child’s biggest stressor in life was deciding if she wanted to play four sports or just three. Young athlete’s today face a much greater threat, with a rather insidious agenda. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 5-10 years, you know I am referencing early specialization.

Children no longer play, they perform. Each youth athlete I interact with on a daily basis has a throwing coach, a shooting coach, a pitching coach, and face unfair expectations from either their parents (or worse, themselves) to perform to a certain level each and every day. This strikes a chord with me, if these “coaches” would take a few hours to read a fucking book they would know that two factors determine everything in an athlete’s career:

  1. Genetics
  2. How they play the hand they’ve been dealt

Number 1 they have no control over, they weren’t able to pick their parents. Number 2 however, parents and coaches have a great deal of influence on. Take this year’s NFL Draft for example, 30 of the 32 draftees in the first round were multiple sport athletes. How can this be? The central nervous system (CNS) is most sensitive from the ages 14-20 in boys and girls. Additionally, there are “windows of opportunity” for malleability and CNS enhancement from external stimuli (play, several sports, etc.). These windows are:

  • Females = 6-8 & 11-13 years of age
  • Males = 7-9 & 13-16 years of age

A young athlete’s CNS is similar to that of a ball of clay, in which it can be shaped and formed based on what we expose it to. With this information, one would deem it common sense to present our youth as many sports and games as possible, right? Unfortunately, common sense isn’t so common these days.

Now, I may be asking too much here, but what the hell I’ll give it a try. If parents and coaches were to watch children play games, (tag, red rover, red light/green light) it would be revealed to them that these games have acceleration and deceleration mechanics incorporated. The beauty of it? The kids don’t even know it, they’re too busy having FUN! Furthermore, “play” is a true display of complex motor patterns in a chaotic environment – call me crazy, but that sounds like sports.

Just wait, it gets better. The real gem is when parents will tell me they’re afraid of wearing little Johnny out, but will turn around and lock him in a gym with a dribbling coach for 2+ hours, 3-4 times per week. I have two problems with this (if I missed something please feel free to comment):

  1. Due the to Law of Accommodation, if the organism (youth athlete) is exposed to the same stimulus for too long, not only will progress cease, but he will also regress because his body simply has adapted and has grown “bored” if you will.
  2. If the child has a general level of fitness i.e. not sitting in front of a screen all damn day, he more than likely has a well-developed aerobic system. Meaning, he is able to recover between bouts of play quickly and efficiently. It is rather primal and animalistic in nature, the young need to have the energy to flee or escape any threat or stressor. Moral of the story? You’re not going to wear them out.

Summary

Early specialization is an epidemic that is plaguing our youth athletes. Those who have fallen prey to this vice are paying the cost of injury, failing to meet their potential, and worst of all, not having fun. Isn’t that what sports were meant for in the first place?!

Fortunately, the solution is rather simple: saturate our youth with a plethora of sports and external stimuli. Limiting them to one will lead to asymmetries. While it is difficult to correct an asymmetry, it is quite easy to control their amount of stimuli, or “training load” if you will.

Best,

HMC

The Truth About Speed: You’re Being Lied To.

Whether you are attending a “speed” clinic, observing a team’s field work session, or watching some idiot on YouTube, I guarantee you have heard these words before regarding the training of team sport athletes, “(Said sport) is a game of repeated accelerations, therefore we have no need to perform absolute speed.” Are you shitting me?

Speed training, or lack thereof in today’s team sport setting is a disaster. Truth is, coaches are not enhancing the bio-motor ability they say they are. Truth is, they are developing repeated corrosive accelerations in a submaximal and lactic environment because they adhere to the “more work, less time” mantra. Truth is, they are not only limiting their athletes’ potential, but they are setting them up for failure, or worse – injury.

Now, I’m probably going to piss a lot of people off with this claim, All team sports need to perform max velocity (absolute speed).” I can already feel the daggers through the eyes of those reading this, but I don’t give a damn, it’s my article and I’ll say what I want.

Performing max velocity has a plethora of benefits:

  • If it’s strength you seek, max velocity sprinting will drive up weights, because its 5x ground reaction forces, 7x muscle-skeletal forces, and the organism (if elite) is applying ~800-1000 lbs. of force with each stride.
  • It is the safest expression of “fight or flight”. As my good friend, Derek Hansen says, “When a cheetah is chasing a springbok, does either animal pull a hamstring?”
  • Sprinting enhances the organism’s speed reserve. Simply put, as we raise the max output (absolute speed), the operational output (submaximal, game speed) raises as well. Sprinting builds endurance, endurance does not build speed.
  • It is a plyometric. Yes, sprinting is a plyometric. There is a flight phase in which both legs are off the ground, followed by a violent elastic reactive response or amortization phase to repeat the phenomena.
  • Max velocity sprinting prevents injury, but how? Ever see a breakaway run in American football and the dude blows his hamstring? He was never exposed to max velocity sprinting in training or practice, which lead to a misstep (no pun intended) in his neurological recruitment patterns.

Another phrase I know everyone reading this has heard during a field session, “To be fast you gotta train fast!” Couldn’t agree more, love it. The only problem is, you’re being lied to again. The coaches don’t mean train fast, rather they are implying that you look busy by performing at submaximal velocities with incomplete rest times in a lactic environment. As Bruce Lee once said, “To be fast, you must first learn to be slow.” What the hell does that mean? James Smith clearly states in his book, Applied Sprint Training for every 10m of work, a 1-2 min rest period is to follow for the development of speed.

  • 10m = 1-2 min. rest
  • 20m = 2-3 min. rest
  • 30m = 3-4 min. rest
  • 40m = 4-5 min. rest

An easy solution to look “busy” to appease the sport coaches is to simply film each rep taken. During the rest period, coach players up on their technique, be as animated as you want, and voila, you look busy, everyone’s happy.

Summary

The development of speed is not what it seems on the surface. Even though less than 3% of an entire game is played at max velocity, the benefits the athlete(s) can reap are more than enough to warrant micro doses of exposure.

Are most team sports a game of repeated accelerations? No question. But, if were looking to be as “sports transferable” as possible, then why don’t we just play the game(s) year round? At some point, there is going to be diminishing returns as our body will grow bored with that specific adaptation and actually regress. Same goes for the development of speed, if we only expose our athletes to acceleration work, sooner or later the body is going to stop adapting and progress will cease. That sounds a lot like the Law of Accommodation.

Truth is, acceleration is only one part of the equation. Truth is, looking “busy” is at worst, ineffective. Truth is, you’re being lied to.

Best,

HMC

5 Reasons Why Today’s Basketball S&C Makes Me Sick.

Let me preface this article by stating, “I am in no way declaring that I am the be-all/end-all when it comes to the proper training of basketball players.” Now that you have all exhaled and closed out that nasty email you were about to send me, lets get into the reasons why many of today’s basketball players’ corrosive “training” is some of the worst I have seen throughout my career in this industry.

Reason #1: It is not “Strength & Conditioning”

Anyone who still refers to our industry as “strength & conditioning” is either old, outdated, antiquated or a combination of the three. The term “strength & conditioning” does not sound like a means to an end, rather it sounds like both the means and the end.

For those of you who know me personally, you are well aware that I refer to myself as a “physical preparation” coach. Why? It is not my job to get a player stronger and in better shape. Rather, my duty relies solely on preparing the player for the rigors of the game itself. The weight room is to be used as a conduit to the game or skill, many in our industry are too interested in chasing numbers (1RM Box Squat, Max Box Jump, 185 lb Bench Reps, etc.) instead of chasing development.

Reason #2: Split-Routines

This is one of the more asinine modalities I have seen in our industry. Unless you train a powerlifter or bodybuilder, the utilization of a split-routine is retarded.

Why someone would train only a player’s upper body one day, and only player’s lower body the next is beyond me. I have yet to see one of my basketball players play the first half with his upper body and the second half with his lower body.

If we are adhering to the Law of Dynamic Correspondence: the activity must mimic the sporting event in part or in whole to transfer to the sporting activity, then it should be common sense to expose basketball players to training modalities that address head-to-toe, and toe-to-head. Unfortunately, “common sense” isn’t so common these days.

Reason #3: The Abuse of Jumps/Plyometrics

First, I have to address this: not all jumps are not plyometrics, and not all plyometrics are not jumps. If you do not know the difference, you should not be a coach.

Second, why are so many coaches prescribing French Contrast methods to the athletes if they have not even been taught to land properly? Disgust is the most expressive human emotion, if only you could see my face right now.

If coaches would bother to read a book, they would know research clearly has shown that the organism (athlete) is only able to exert as much force as they are able to absorb. How about instead of breaking out the plyo-boxes and multiple response hurdle hops, we prescribe single and double leg snap downs (thanks Bobby Smith), depth drops, and deceleration mechanics? This message will more than likely fall upon deaf ears because it isn’t “sexy” enough. I would remind the coach that YOU will get bored much earlier than the athlete – maximize the mundane!

Reason #4: No Variance in Tempo

Slow eccentrics? Isometrics? Where are they to be found in today’s basketball training program? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a 6’11” center is going to incur a longer time under tension (TUT) than a 5’11” point guard. Therefore, it may be prudent of the coach to utilize a slow eccentric (5-6 seconds) so that no matter the players’ variance in length, they will all be on the same “schedule” if you will.

The benefits of varied tempos are not only practical, but physiological as well. When the athlete utilizes a slow eccentric on a compound movement (front squat) there is going a be a massive amount of cross-sectional damage done to the fibers which will cause a massive adaptation, mainly hypertrophy. Also, the slow eccentric will not only re lengthen the tissue, but it will also make the athlete more resilient – less susceptible to injury.

Reason #5: Exposure to Lactic Environment

Coaches need to understand that the game of basketball is played mainly at a very low intensity, utilizing primarily the aerobic energy system.

With that said, there should not be any reason why gassers, suicides, jingle jangles, etc. should be administered on a daily basis. If you simply cannot help yourself, I would suggest exposing them to these modalities once every 14 days. Why? The residual training effect of the lactic environment is 18 days + or – 4 days.

Coaches should train their athletes at very high intensities, or very low intensities, there is no “middle ground”. When you are training in a lactic environment, your players are moving too slow to develop speed, and they’re moving too fast to develop work capacity. Sounds to me like a complete waste of time.

Summary

I have the pleasure of serving as the head coach of physical preparation for men’s basketball team at my alma mater, Grand Valley State University. During that time, by the grace of God, we have had the fewest cases of injury in recent memory. Am I taking credit for this feat? Absolutely not. All I do is write the damn program, the players have to:

  1. Show up.
  2. Buy what I’m selling.
  3. Embrace the process.

If any of those three elements are not met, I as a coach have failed. The praise does not end with the players, Ric Wesley and his staff have given me full autonomy and have invested their faith and trust in my ability – this is a unicorn in our industry.

Coaches need to check their egos at the door, a player’s development does not begin and end with us, we are merely shepherds guiding them safely from weight room to court, utilizing methods and means that will bring about the greatest adaptation and reward at the lowest possible risk to the athlete.

Best,

HMC

 

5 Reasons Why Your Training Sucks.

Like many who came before me, the first time I stepped into the weight room, I got bit by the iron bug – hard. Unlike many who came before me, it took much longer to realize that training was a marathon and not a sprint, as well as a revolving door where change is the only constant.

I made the most gains early on in high school, which should not be a surprise, I was in a good place hormonally, (puberty is one helluva performance-enhancer). Later on in high school and even into college, my gains stagnated and in some cases, regressed. You can imagine how frustrating this was for me as a student athlete who loved every bit of the process, even more so than the game itself I would say – but that’s what makes me good at what I do now. Why the plateau? I made these 5 mistakes time and time again, hopefully I save you the headache and a couple years locked in a stalemate with progress.

Reason #1: You lack variety.

This was the biggest mistake I made, and I made it more times than I can count. If you present the same stimulus to the organism for a prolonged period of time, the organism will not only exhibit no further progress, but a decline as well. This is known as the Law of Accommodation, and it will punish you if you do not respect it.

The human body runs in 3-4 week adaptation waves. I have found that extroverts require massive amounts of stimulus, making it prudent to prescribe a new template every 21 days or so. Introverts, on the other hand, rarely require any change in their program, (see Jim Wendler and his book, 5/3/1).

In my experience, I have found that my lower body is much dumber than my upper body, meaning I am able to apply a given stimulus to my lower body for 3-4 weeks before adaptation occurs. Whereas when training my upper body, by the end of week 2, I am pulling my hair out from boredom and lack of progress.

Take home message? Change. Look at it this way, when a little boy or girl finally learns how to spell their name, they are never going to be able to spell it any better, they can only mess it up – same with training. To adapt is to never truly adapt.

Reason #2: You lack speed.

I have gone on record several times exclaiming how influential Dr. Bryan Mann and his work on all things Velocity Based Training (VBT) has been in not only my training, but more importantly, the training of my athletes. See Mike Robertson’s Physical Preparation Podcast for more on said reason.

Fret Hatfield aka “Dr. Squat” coined the term, compensatory acceleration, in which the athlete accelerates the bar as leverage improves throughout the movement.

Vladimir Zatsiorsky wrote about the dynamic effort method, in which the athlete is lifting submaximal weights at high velocities to improve his rate of force development and explosive strength.

If these three giants in the industry put an emphasis on speed, I find it necessary that you do as well. One can not lift a heavy weight slowly. If the speed of the bar dips beneath .3 m/s, more times than not, failure will follow. If you slow down, you go down.

Lifting with speed also has tremendous restoration benefits. Dr. Mann says, “velocity recovers everything” lifting at high speeds promotes substantial blood flow to the muscle(s), providing ample oxygen and nutrients needed for rejuvenation.

Reason #3: You lack periodization.

Unless you are a sponsored crossfitter and have made a living doing so, throwing a bunch of shit at the wall and seeing what sticks is not planning, it is planning to fail. I truly believe the best way to program is by simultaneously raising all aspects of athleticism. This is known as the conjugate or concurrent method.

Dedicating a block to each element of performance is old, outdated, and antiquated. As you “progress” from one block to the next, you are losing all the gains you worked your ass off to obtain in the previous block. Now, the naysayers will proclaim that in a well-structured program, they are not losing the benefits from the previous block as they are programmed into the current. If that is the case, they too are using a concurrent style of training.

A good, well-rounded program will consist of: maximal (or submaximal) effort method, to build intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. Dynamic effort to improve one’s rate of force development. And the repeated effort method used to build up lagging muscle groups and address weak links in the kinetic chain.

Reason #4: You lack urgency.

If each lifting session takes you approximately 3 hours to complete, you are an idiot. Don’t fret, I use to be in the gym for an entire afternoon and I would wonder why I would feel drained and stall out. This cycle continued for several years in my youth, each time I would expect a different result, I believe that is the definition of insanity.

Physiologically, any lifting session lasting longer than 60-75 minutes is going to have a negative effect on the production of serum testosterone. Sessions running longer than said time will produce more cortisol (stress) than necessary, which will inhibit recovery and progress.

Get in, and get out. You should not feel drained after a workout, but rather invigorated, that is the key to success. Keep your training short, keep it acute, keep it intense.

Reason #5: You lack deloads.

Training is stressful, extremely stressful. Don’t believe me? A training session is more stressful to the organism than that of a broken arm. Why? Training is global, whereas said injury is local. Point being, it may be in your best interest to dial it back every now and then.

I used to deload every 8-12 weeks, now I deload after every third, no questions asked. Why? I do so before I need to, this allows me to stay hungry for training, as well as supercompensate which elicits more gains.

If you neglect the deload, you are asking for trouble. There are three phases to the onset of stress:

  1. Alarm
  2. Resistance
  3. Exhaustion

If you venture too far into number 3, you are going to dig yourself a hole you may be unable to crawl out of – tread lightly. Cal Dietz says constantly applying stress to the human body is the single most important component of any training program, and I happen to agree with him, but there is a limit.

Summary

Training is never going to become easy, especially if you are seasoned and strong. It is harder to get better the better you get. Have a roadmap of where you are going and where you want to be, hardly anyone has a training journal anymore, what the hell?! That is your log, that is how you record progress or lack thereof. Do-Document-Refine, it is that simple.

Best,

HMC

 

Hip Height = Training Considerations

In the sport of American football, there are many varying body types, skill levels, and physiologic differences. As a physical preparation coach, it would be damn near impossible to try and address every single nuance your athletes present. However, there is one distinction that can be programmed for and tailored to – hip height.

To put it simply, the closer the player is to the football, the more strength dominant he is. Conversely, the further away a player is from the football, the more speed dominant he then becomes. Makes sense, right? It should. A center and the nose guard across from him more often than not display the most impressive feats of strength in the weight room, while the cornerback and wide receiver doing battle with him rely on their speed to be successful on the gridiron.

Does this mean that my big guys do not sprint? No. Does this mean that my skill players never walk into the weight room? Absolutely not. Bigs, Big Skill, and Skill all perform acceleration, max velocity, jumps, plyometrics, and they all lift weights. However, the requirements for each group vary. The volume of speed work for an offensive lineman is not the same as a free safety, just as the volume of strength development for a linebacker is not the same as a slot receiver.

Skill Players (WR, RB, DB) 
≤150 yds/session 
Big Skill (LB, TE, QB) 
≤100 yds/session 
Bigs (OL, DL) 
≤60 yds/session 

Olympic sprinters perform ≤300m of acceleration work daily. I do not train Olympic sprinters, so I have adjusted the daily acceleration volume based on hip height of the players in the table shown above. Yes, we perform acceleration daily. Why? The obvious answer is because football is a game of repeated accelerations, the better answer is that when a coach is addressing a skill, it needs to be addressed every single day. Acceleration is a skill, and we address it daily in my program.

The daily flow of a training session for my football players begins with all three groups (Bigs, Big Skill, and Skill) on the field. Once each group has met their appropriate volume of acceleration or max velocity for the day, they will transition to the weight room. The Bigs will be the first off the field, and first into the weight room, followed by Big Skill, and then finally Skill as their amount of speed volume will be the highest.

Once they have transitioned to the weight room, the Bigs are prescribed the most volume as their hip height in game demands it. Big Skill will see a decrease in their volume, and Skill will have the lowest volume of strength development. The benefits of this are two-fold: 1) you are meeting the strength/speed demands of each group. 2) from a more practical standpoint, there will be a better flow in the weight room as they will not all be doing the same thing at the same time.

Now, for those of you concerned with my skill players simply not being strong enough, rest assured, they will get stronger simply by sprinting. Sprinting will drive up weights, weights will not necessarily drive up speed. How? Sprinting is 5x ground reaction forces, and 7x muscle skeletal forces every time a player strikes the ground. In my Skill players’ case, the weight room simply makes sprinting more tolerable to them, as they create 800-1000lbs of force with every stride at max velocity.

Still not convinced my skill players are not spending enough time in the weight room? If you were to ask a football coach how the game is played, he would ramble off a few things such as:

  • We will run the ball to the middle, or the outside
  • We will drop back, our wide receiver will run a route, catch the ball, and run up the field
  • Any great defense will run the to ball

So we can conclude that running is rather important. I rest my case.

Summary

Hip height will determine the training protocol for your athletes. The lower a player’s hips are to the ground, the more strength and stability is required with less of demand for velocity. The higher a player’s hips are in comparison to the ground requires much more devotion to elastic power and max velocity with only a smattering of weights and strength development.

My goal is to increase the work capacity of the best performance of the specific task at hand, and that task will vary position-to-position, or better yet – the height of the player’s hips.

Best,

HMC

 

Agility Training Considerations for American Football

If you are looking for an article with a “how to” model for agility, movements that are chaotic in nature, and sexy cone drills limited only by your imagination, you are going to be disappointed because you are not going to get it. However, if you are willing to have an open mind and look at things from a different perspective, then you will benefit greatly from this article and begin developing freakish athletes.

As a coach, you can improve your athletes’ agility without doing agility training. I am sure this is a hard pill to swallow for some coaches, but trust me, it is not only possible, it is a guarantee. The way this is accomplished is not as difficult as one might think, it is in fact, rather easy. The key focus should be on linear speed and sprinting, not change of direction. Why? Sprinting farther and faster in training allows athletes to reach higher speeds, thus achieving higher ground forces. Simply put, high velocity=high force. This has multiple benefits when it comes to agility:

  • Improved change of direction
  • Improved jumping ability
  • Ability to decelerate quicker
  • Less wear and tear (due to decrease in COD training)

When the athlete is in a state of high velocity and high force (sprinting) he is reaping the rewards of “agility” training without the risk. If we are being honest, it is known that agility and change of direction is hard on the organism, why venture into that realm of risk when it is accomplished by sprinting full speed?

Still not grasping it? When Michael Vick was in his prime, he would achieve maximal speeds at over 20 miles per hour (21.63 mph to be exact). When the organism is achieving 95% or greater of his best times in max velocity speed training, submaximal velocities (agility and COD training) will be that much easier for the organism. This is why I am a proponent of Charlie Francis’ HIGH/LOW Approach, it allows the coach to tap into true max velocity while simultaneously raising several other aspects an athlete may encounter on the field of play. Additionally, when you expose the organism to submaximal velocities more often than necessary, you then run the risk of habituating them to perform at slower and submaximal velocities – no bueno.

Absolute strength is the foundation in the weight room and all other strength qualities (speed strength, strength speed, etc.) are raised through it. As is the case with max velocity or absolute speed. The higher the max velocity the organism is able to achieve, all other velocities will be far less taxing and will be able to be performed for longer durations. This concept is known as the speed reserve. As an example, Formula 1 race cars have top speeds of 250-260 mph, however, their average speed is 130-140 mph. They are able to perform at slower velocities for longer durations because their max velocity is so impressive that it allows them to do so without stalling.

Does this mean I believe cones, hurdles and agility drills are stupid? On the contrary, those are tools, they have value. Just because a hammer is a tool does not make it stupid, a hammer is stupid if you are washing windows. What I am trying to illustrate is that while agility training does have it’s place in the preparation of football players, it certainly does not need a training session or block devoted entirely to it.

Summary

The development of linear speed and max velocity have more benefits other than just improving that one particular bio-motor ability. A study done by Clark and Weyland found that at higher velocities, higher forces are put into the ground. No shit, right?

Remember this, since the organism is able to apply more force into the ground, numerous other benefits are being realized without the wear and tear. As physical preparation coaches, we should be prescribing exercises our athletes get the most out of, not exercises that get the most out of them.

Best,

HMC

PS – Don’t forget to check out my interview with Mike Robertson! Physical Preparation with Hunter Charneski