Speed Improvement Focus: COACHES AND ATHLETES MUST MAKE A CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPEED WORK AND SPEED ENDURANCE TRAINING

COACHES AND ATHLETES MUST MAKE A CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPEED WORK AND SPEED ENDURANCE TRAINING

The difference between speed work and speed endurance training is not always clear although the training objectives are entirely different. The mere fact that a sprint-assisted training technique is being used for example, does not guarantee that a speed workout is taking place. Speed work is designed to train the neuromuscular system by helping the body adapt to extremely fast muscular contraction and high stride rates (steps per second). Improvement occurs through neuromuscular adaptation to forced higher speeds and longer steps (the neuron recruitment level increases).

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Speed Improvement Focus: AN OVERVIEW OF PLYOMETRICS AND THEIR USE IN SPEED AND STRENGTH TRAINING

AN OVERVIEW OF PLYOMETRICS AND THEIR USE IN SPEED AND STRENGTH TRAINING – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Responses by James Radcliffe (Strength and Conditioning Coach, University of Oregon 1985-Present; author of Plyometrics: Explosive Power Training and High-Powered Plyometrics) to questions prepared by Track Coach editor, Russ Ebbets (Track Coach, Fall, 2006)

What does the term plyometrics mean to you?

Plyometrics means a style of training utilizing exercises that are explosive and take advantage of the elastic-reactive components of the neuromuscular system. This includes any form of jumping, bounding, hopping, throwing, and tossing movements that combine the effects of eccentric loading and the rate of concentric execution.

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Speed Improvement Focus: HAVING SPEED IS ONE THING: KNOWING HOW TO USE IT IS ANOTHER

HAVING SPEED IS ONE THING: KNOWING HOW TO USE IT IS ANOTHER

I have been working with athletes for 35 years and have seen many improve speed but still not improve performance. We all know that speed can be improved through proper training but no one has discovered why performance does not also improve. Is the answer physiological or psychological, or a combination of both?

As the Track Coach at the University of Maryland I recruited a talented long jumper and sprinter from New Jersey who was a high school state champion in both events. While attending junior college, before transferring to Maryland, his long jumping distance dropped to more than a foot less than his high school best. Observing him jump, I was amazed by how slow he sprinted down the runway. His problem was both psychological and physical. He did not believe he could take off properly at high speed. Once he learned the proper technique, he became a sprinter on the runway and, by the end of his first year at Maryland was the third best long jumper in the country.

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Speed Improvement Focus: HIGH SPEED STATIONARY CYCLING: AN OVERLOOKED TRAINING METHOD

HIGH SPEED STATIONARY CYCLING: AN OVERLOOKED TRAINING METHOD

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a variety of sprint-assisted training methods were tested at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) that examined the many factors influencing an athlete’s speed of movement in team sports. At VCU summer speed camps, curiosity seekers were astonished to see athletes being towed on a track behind a motor scooter. At that time, other towing methods were not yet perfected. It was a period also when researchers were much more aware of the influence ground contact forces had on the start, acceleration, stride length, stride rate and the maximum speed of athletes than other factors. Neuromuscular training received little attention and stride rate was perceived as an unchangeable gift of genetics.

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Speed Improvement Focus: BODY TEMPERATURE DURING AND AFTER EXERCISE IN HOT, HUMID WEATHER

BODY TEMPERATURE DURING AND AFTER EXERCISE IN HOT, HUMID WEATHER

It is important to note that the post workout time period is when you need to provide some assistance and help the body in its cooling effort. As Gabe Mirkin, M.D. (http://www.DrMirkin.com) points out, you sweat more after exercise than while exercising. Body temperature also continues to rise, adding to the over heated condition. During exercise, about 70 percent of the energy that powers muscles is lost as heat, causing body temperature to rise. To prevent temperature from rising too high, the heart pumps the heat in the blood from muscles to the skin, increasing perspiration and the efficiency of the body’s main cooling mechanism; evaporation of sweat.

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Speed Improvement Focus: COACHES HEALTH – THE HEALTH RISKS OF INFLAMMATION AND PAIN CONTROL

COACHES HEALTH – THE HEALTH RISKS OF INFLAMMATION AND PAIN CONTROL

As former athletes in a variety of sports, almost every coach will eventually be forced to make decisions about their choice of medication to control joint inflammation and pain. Eventually, previous injuries and/or age is certain to produce some degree of arthritis, pain, and inflammation that disrupts daily lives.

While OTC (over the counter) and PRESCRIPTION NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) medication is quite effective, there are health risks associated with regular and high dose usage.

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Speed Improvement Focus: HAMSTRING INJURIES IN TEAM SPORTS

HAMSTRING INJURIES IN TEAM SPORTS

A stretch or tear of one of the three large muscles of the back of the thigh comprising the hamstring muscle group (biceps, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus) typically occurs when these muscles are contracting forcefully during the sprinting or jumping action. Some studies indicate the injury is also more likely to occur in sprinters and other athletes as they run the curves on a 400-meter track.

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Speed Improvement Focus: WEIGHT TRAINING MYTH AND FACT SHEET

WEIGHT TRAINING MYTH AND FACT SHEET

Myth #1 Young children do not need strength training.

Fact: For over 50 years, test results of children in the U S have revealed poor upper body (arm and shoulder) and abdominal strength; considerably worse than European children. Strength in these areas is critical to adequate performance of daily chores, performance in a wide variety of physical education activities and sports, and in the prevention of soft tissue injuries. Widespread use of weight training and other strength training programs in physical education, recreation, and home fitness programs can easily eliminate the problem.

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Speed Improvement Focus: WARM-UP AND STRETCHING: MODIFYING YOUR APPROACH

WARM-UP AND STRETCHING: MODIFYING YOUR APPROACH

Although most research supports the use of stretching exercises before a workout or game, there is conflicting evidence and a difference of opinion and practice in several key areas such as what technique to use, when to stretch, what to emphasize when you stretch, and how long to stretch. In some cases, different techniques appear to be equally effective. In others, there is a need to consider a slightly different approach.

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Speed Improvement Focus: MUSCLE WEIGHT GAIN WITHOUT STEROIDS

MUSCLE WEIGHT GAIN WITHOUT STEROIDS

Avoiding any steroid or growth enhancing aid is a wise health decision for athletes and non athletes. A drug-free muscle weight gain program can be very effective with considerable dedication to both diet and exercise. For high school and college athletes, sound, safe approach strives to add NO MORE than a half-pound of muscle per week, two pounds per month. This is about as quick as the body can add lean muscle. Faster approaches involving too many calories are almost certain to add adipose (fat) tissue. For some high school and college athletes, an even more conservative, effective approach is one-fourth pound per week, one pound per month, 12 pounds in one year.

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