The cold hard reality is that you can have the best touch on the ball in the whole world, but if you are too slow to beat the other player to it, it is all for nothing. Speed kills. It is a game changer. It builds excitement, confidence, and helps control matches. It is our #3 focus here behind building character, and injury prevention.
There are a lot of speed and agility camps out there for kids to participate in. They run around cones, jump over hurdles, and dash through ladders in hopes of reaching their fullest potential. We make full use of all of these methods, however this model is extremely limited in its ability to produce the jaw dropping results we are accustomed to here.
I would like to point out a couple of key facts before I expound on things.
#1 This is not the product of ladders and cones
Ronaldo is one of the best footballers in the world right now.
#2 Speed is a product of the ability to produce force into the ground very rapidly.
#3 There are still a lot of misconceptions about building strength for sports performance. Those misconceptions are formulated by the bodybuilding world being a source of fitness information while the industry was evolving. You would never see anyone who looks like Schwarzenegger being quick and agile on the pitch. That does not mean that the right type of weight training isn’t highly beneficial for speed development.
Kids who I train see jumps in their speed and agility almost instantly when they enter the weight room. This does not mean that they should continue to just lift weights to make them faster and more agile. Regular static strength from lifting weights actually does not always translate to the pitch because the only things that matter on the pitch are really power and quickness. Power is F x V (Force x Velocity) In laymen’s terms it is strength and speed combined. It measures not only how much force do you create but how quickly can you create it. It is this quality to which we surround almost everything we do. Strength is not automatically power, but it leads to power.
Please watch this short video and I will explain further.
So when I hear that someone does speed and agility training for soccer players, I am really hoping they have access to strength equipment. It takes a ton of force to have a 130lb athlete running at 15 mph stop and change direction, particularly if they don’t want to get injured.
Here are a couple of our power development techniques that help bridge the gap between regular strength training and speed and agility. The first is on the Vertimax unit. We make good use of it here and it works wonders.
The next is of one of our athletes doing a hang clean. The clean and jerk is an Olympic event and takes a massive amount of power to perform. We use the lift from the hang position instead of lifting from the floor so it is easier to perform, much safer and has a lot of carry over to sport. The athlete learns to produce an incredible amount of force into the ground quickly in order to get the barbell up.