Being able to accelerate quickly and powerfully is probably the most important skill that needs to be improved in all athletes. Athletes in every sport need to be able to run as fast as possible as quickly as possible. From getting acceleration off the line fast in football, to beating your opponent to the ball in soccer, to exploding out of the blocks in track; each of these athletes need to be as efficient as possible to be able to generate speed in a short period of time.
Acceleration development is a major focal point in our training program and we spend a lot of time working on proper acceleration mechanics. The reason being that most sports never really need their athletes to sprint over 30 meters. How often do you see a football player break away for a 50 yard gain or a field hockey player need to sprint at top speed from mid field without breaking stride? Not often at all, most plays happen at short bursts of 10 yards or less. Even for a 100 meter sprinter, the acceleration phase consists of 64% of the race (from a time standpoint).
First: What is acceleration?
Acceleration is the rate at which the speed of an object is changing. Acceleration takes place the first 0-30 meters or to about 3-4 seconds from the start of a sprint. After approximately 30 meters acceleration turns into maximum velocity and top speed is hit. Workouts to improve the acceleration of an athlete will follow in the same distance parameters. Running repeat sprints of 20 meters for example with full recovery is an option for an acceleration workout. Instead of giving you some basic running workouts, I want to give you some of my favorite acceleration training drills that will not only create faster athletes but also help develop proper acceleration mechanics at the same time. Before giving you the acceleration speed drills, let’s go into what constitutes proper acceleration mechanics so you know what to look for with your athlete. Being able to cue and make corrections to your athletes form is what is really going to make these drills successful.