Complete Speed Training

I hope this finds you well. As you can likely tell, the new year has been exceptionally busy. We’ve been having a lot of fun at Endeavor as we have a bunch of soccer and lacrosse teams training with us in preparation for the start of their season, and are working on a couple exciting projects. Unfortunately, that has left almost no time for me write.

Last week I had an opportunity to review an advance copy of Lee Taft’s new “Complete Speed Training” program. Over the last decade I’ve read a bunch of Lee’s work. If you’re seeing his name for the first time, Lee has been widely regarded as one of the leading speed experts in our field for years. He knows his stuff, which is why I blocked out a few hours of my schedule to dive into his new program.

Complete Speed Training

Grab your copy here >> Complete Speed Training

This is NOT speed training

When I first started reading books and articles about speed training, so much of my focus was on learning new “quickness” drills, primarily using cones and ladders. My thought process was pretty simple: sports involved a lot of acceleration and transitional patterns, so focusing on quickness should transfer positively to athletic performance.

There are two fundamental problems with this line of thinking:

  1. In order to improve speed, you must know what’s limiting it
  2. When you focus so much on quick foot movement, you lose sight of the rest of the body

The idea that just doing more sprints will make you faster is as flawed as it is pervasive. Speed (or speed development) can be limited by a number of things, including joint mobility, joint stability, mechanics, strength, and when it comes to being able to demonstrate speed consistently in a game, conditioning.

In youth athletes, the primary two limitations I see most commonly are mechanics and strength, of which the strength component is the most often overlooked by parents and coaches. Speed comes down to being able to put force into the ground to propel the body forward. If you can’t produce a lot of force, you can’t be fast. That’s not an opinion; it’s physics.

One of the ways athletes compensate for not being able to produce a lot of force is by over-striding. The general thought is that if they lengthen their stride, they’ll cover more ground with each step. This is true in theory, but when the stride is lengthened by reaching forward, it both increases the braking forces with each stride (the foot hits the ground way out in front of the body, essentially pushing the body backward like a kickstand on a bike) and the risk of injury (this is how hamstrings on the front leg and quads on the back leg get torn).

Having athletes with these limitations simply run more sprints/cone drills/ladders will not help them improve their speed any appreciable amount and may lead to an injury.

THIS is speed training

This is one of the things I loved about Complete Speed Training. Not only does Lee walk through a very comprehensive warm-up, which would help address some of the more common mobility and stability limitations, but he dissects linear, lateral, and transitional movements from a whole body perspective AND integrates speed training drills within a more comprehensive training program that includes strength training and conditioning.

I took a lot away from watching the videos, but here are a few of the highlights:

  1. Proper sprinting mechanics all starts with posture. The athlete needs to be able to get into and hold the right body positions. This can be trained statically before being integrated more dynamically.
  2. Coaches go out of their way a lot of times to correct foot positions that are actually advantageous to the athlete moving quicker. Let athletes open their foot up while shuffling sideways and don’t correct the drop step when they’re starting from a standstill.
  3. Arm motion can be used to drive leg motion. Cue faster arm actions to facilitate more powerful strides.
  4. A lot of his cues were on “covering ground” not on “quick feet”.
  5. Best review of transitional speed mechanics I’ve ever seen. Teaches linear, lateral, crossover, and “retreating” skills with simple, but effective drills. I especially liked the emphasis on keeping shoulders square to a target while covering ground laterally.

Tomorrow I have a great guest article from Lee looking at the difference between quick feet and athletic quickness. In the meantime, Complete Speed Training is available at a $100 discount through Friday 2/13. This is an outstanding resource, so if you’re interested in learning effective speed training techniques, getting a quality training program, and saving some loot, grab a copy today!

Complete Speed Training

Grab your copy here >> Complete Speed Training


To your success,

Kevin Neeld

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!