Top tips to implement in training to help you sprint efficiently and effectively away from your opposition.
One of the primary aims that team sport athletes reference when getting in touch, is the ability to leave opposition in their dust, e.g.,
“I want to improve my first step"
"I need to be able to get to the ball sooner"
"I have to get up and down the court faster"
On top of sharpening up your reaction time to specific stimuli, the skill of being able to accelerate effectively is imperative to achieve the outcomes listed above. Different cues can be utilised to get you into the most forceful positions to go forwards as fast as possible.
Positions To Practice....
45° Body Angle
• Approx to the floor
• Appropriate for correct force application
High Knee Lift
• Creates space between foot and floor for force to be applied
Big Arm Drive
• Long, powerful linear action
• Assists opposite high knee position
• Creates stiff ankle so foot is ready to receive the floor and can be reactive when it does
Positive Shin Angles
• Force therefore ready to be applied in the appropriate direction
• E.g., Red arrow in the image below
Push Down & Back
• Violent, "Piston-like" action
• Use cues e.g., "Hit" / "Stab" / "Strike" the floor down & back
• To propel yourself forwards
• For optimal efficiency: one knee replaces the other ASAP
My advice: Focus only on 1-2 positions or cues at a time so you're able to elicit changes in your acceleration mechanics when you practice....
When you're introducing these into your training to make improvements to your acceleration, practice from a standing start position to begin with (shown below).
Standing Start Set-Up....
Weight on Front Foot
Both Knees Bent
Opposite Arm / Leg Position
Flat Back Position
"But I would never start like this in a game. It's not relevant....."
This is something I tend to hear from team sport players prior to completing a series of acceleration practices from a standing start position. It is true that this stationary position isn't one a game related acceleration would be initiated from, however - if you're an athlete who hopes to improve on your acceleration, this process starts with improvements made to your mechanics. The simplest way of improving this in the first instance, is by accelerating from a standing start. Once competent doing in so, you can then initiate accelerations from more game specific movements. Practicing individually first of all instead of in pairs/a group is beneficial, as a greater focus can be placed upon improving your acceleration mechanics.
Nail effective acceleration positions from standing starts before initiating from more game specific movements
Can you spot the key positions in this video?