Back in 2012 I published a post entitled 'You're speed and agility sessions suck'. If you've not seen it then take a look, I explain why I think most coaches speed and agility sessions are poor and look at the kinetics and kinematics involved in developing speed and agility.
Two years on and I thought I would have another little dig. This time at the 'fast feet' brigade! I'm still seeing athletes performing drills that have little or no carry over to actual performance and the coaches (I use that term loosely) working with the athletes clearly don't understand what it actually takes to accelerate, hit top speed or slam the brakes on and change direction. For the love of God, please stop making your athletes complete 'fast feet' drills.
I don't care how fast your feet are!
When it comes to developing an athletes speed, agility and change of direction I really don't care how fast their feet are. There, I said it...Is the world still turning? Good, I'll explain why 'fast feet' drills tend to make by blood pressure rise when they are used by coaches and athletes that want to get quicker around the court or on the pitch.
We've all seen it (I've even coached it back in the dim dark past, we all make mistakes!) - athletes performing ridiculous drills that make them look like they are auditioning for River Dance! And we've all talked about fast feet, shouting inane things like 'dance', 'get on the balls of your feet', 'quicker', 'faster', 'tap tap tap tap'.
Tippy tapping away on the floor just doesn't cut it - sure you'll look fast but you'll be going nowhere in a hurry. Mike Young from Athletic Lab has some great resources that he's put up on the Slideshare website covering the mechanics of speed and what to look for and more importantly what to coach.
A key message from his presentation on Coaching Sprint Mechanics is:
'...to increase running speed an athlete must increase force to the ground in the appropriate direction...'
Charlie Francis said
'...to go faster you need more force...'
and one of my favourites from Mike Young
'hit the ground like a sledgehammer'.
The next time you work with an athlete that needs to develop speed, agility and change of direction, think sledgehammers and not Riverdance!