Running speed is an important component of athletic performance. Equally important is gamespeed — the application of speed in a sport-specific context, which maximizes sport performance (Ian Jeffreys; Developing Speed).
Since speed relies on both motor skill development and the development of physical capacities to produce effective ground-reaction forces, a speed development program should include three key elements:
Development of Physical Capacities
An effective speed development program must develop an athlete’s muscular strength and power. As I’ve stated before, speed development starts in the weight room. An athlete’s running speed will be determined largely by his/her ability to generate force, effectively and efficiently, against the ground.
Proper running technique — including stride length, stride frequency, arm action, and leg action — helps ensure that athletes can use their physical capacities to enhance their speed.
Application of Speed
The development of physical capacities and running technique are only beneficial if they enhance running speed in the sport-specific context. A speed improvement program must address all the elements that affect Performance in a particular sport, including initial acceleration, transition acceleration, and maximum speed.
In order to achieve optimal results, these three elements should be incorporated into a speed development program. The training should also be adapted to the individual athlete’s characteristics. The focus of training is different for each athlete, and should address differences in physical capacities and technical proficiency.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!