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.