Speed training is sport- and exercise- specific. As an athlete progresses in his or her athletic calling, he or she has to use exercises more and more comparable to practices of the sport.
The growing specialisation of an athlete reduces the likelihood of improving speed in sport-specific skills with general exercises.
There are 3 components of speed training: perfecting reaction, speed training proper, and supplementary training comprising strength exercises, power or jumping exercises, coordination exercises, and mobility exercises.
The exercises of supplementary training, such as strength or flexibility exercises, have to build a groundwork for mounting speed and not develop maximal possible strength or maximal flexibility. Due to time restraints, only as much strength is established as is needed for improving speed.
Too much strength training will limit the time and energy accessible for speed training and may needlessly increase an athlete’s mass. While balanced flexibility training brings outcomes quite quickly and at little cost of energy, extreme range of motion can hinder effective technique.
In circumstances when the athlete has to overcome substantial resistance, his or her speed hinges on strength primarily: when accuracy in intricate techniques is important, then the athlete’s speed will depend mostly on his or her synchronisation, nimbleness, reaction time, and technical skills.
Repetitive training is the main means of increasing speed. Speed exercises necessitate maximum power and last maximally up to 8 seconds. The period of rest breaks is determined by fluctuations in the excitability of the CNS and the restoration of vegetative utilities (the removal of oxygen debt) so breathing is normal again. Speed exercises result in oxygen debt and to reduce it, occasionally as much as 10 minutes of rest is required.
That said, the athlete must repeat speed exercises with rest breaks shorter than the time of comprehensive restoration of vegetative utilities, which leads in due course to exhaustion and a quick drop in speed whereupon, adaptation will take place.
- Developing speed. S.l.: Human Kinetics, 2013.
- Kurz, Thomas. Science of sports training: how to plan and control training for peak performance. Island Pond, VT, U.S.A.: Stadion, 1991.