Speed & Agility Training Zone!

Program Design to Maximize Game Speed

By: Bill Parisi

Speed is a universal requirement to be successful in sport.  Parisi’s defines the combination of biomotor physical attributes, and sport technique as “GameSpeed”.  During competition, a successful athlete relies on this combination at all times.  To better understand GameSpeed, here is a list of each physical attribute in greater detail:

: The ability to overcome inertia and reach Top Speed.
Top Speed:  The maximal velocity an athlete can attain and maintain.
Speed Endurance:
The ability to demonstrate speed over the period of an entire competition.
Change of Direction: The ability to move in any direction quickly and decelerate and reaccelerate efficiently, without a loss of balance.
: The ability to exert force.
Strength Endurance
: The ability to exert force over the period of an entire competition.
Power:  The ability to apply force quickly.
:  The amount of mobility that is possessed around a joint that allows maximum force production.

After identifying these attributes, the coach must now learn to develop a training plan to produce optimal results.  This article will assist the coach in creating this plan through a systematic question and answer process.

The fact that athletes should be performing physical training throughout the year is now universally accepted among high-level coaches.  Both the in-season and off-season program is typically prepared by the sport coach or strength and conditioning coach.  Although different sports require different sport skills, all rely on the physical attributes that define GameSpeed.  Without constant attention placed on these attributes, a training plan will not produce maximal results.

A coach should think that the application of exercise is like the medicine a doctor prescribes.  In both cases, an important physical change is produced with the introduction of the correct stimulus.  The doctor and coach, therefore, must begin with the proper questions to determine the correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment program.   Identifying the right questions to ask is vital for the formulation of a results oriented training program. The coach that asks the most practical and detailed questions will formulate the most effective program.  The creation of successful solutions in any profession (medicine, teaching, business, sales, politics and most importantly parenting), relies on the ability to identify and then ask the appropriate questions. Asking the correct question is a skill that any coach can improve with practice.

Parisi’s defines the assessment and creation of a training plan as the “Program Prescription.”  To properly prescribe an exercise, a coach must first ask the following questions:

  • What is the athlete’s primary sport? 
  • What position(s) does the athlete play?
  • What primary athletic skills are required for each position?
  • What physical attributes are necessary to maximize the specific sport skill?

    Once you have appropriately answered the four questions listed above, the following questions will help to develop a training program with increasing clarity:

  • What is the amount, type, and most important location of the body in which strength is required? 
  • What amount of linear speed, change of direction and speed endurance is required?
  • What type of flexibility (static, dynamic) is required?
  • What level of both physical and mental endurance is required?
  • How important is the application of proper nutrition?
  • What will be the necessary methods of recovery (i.e. ice, nutrition, massage)?  

  • After these questions have been answered, these final questions will allow you to make the program prescription apply to each individual athlete with which you work.

  • What is the athlete’s training level?
  • What is the athlete’s training age?
  • How biologically mature is the athlete?
  • What limitations does the athlete possess in technique?
  • What limitations does the athlete possess physically?
  • What is the psychological profile of the athlete?

  • Once these questions are answered, there is one last level of questions to ask to begin developing the program for the individual athlete.  These questions must be answered by the actual athletes, and underscore the requirement of rapport between the athlete and coach:

  • Why did the athlete choose his or her specific sport?
  • What is the personal goal of each athlete this year?
  • Why is that goal important to the athlete?
  • What does the athlete need most to accomplish that goal?

  • The application of the final questions listed may actually be the most important in the development of the training plan.  This is not because it will deliver more valuable information than any of the other questions listed, but will allow you to create the most important aspect of training with your athlete:  trust.  Meet with each individual athlete for 15 minutes over the course of two weeks.  Make a note card for each athlete so you can write the answers down.  Have all your athlete’s cards on you at every practice.  Pull out those cards and read them to those athletes that may need a little extra motivation that day.  Although future articles will describe numerous training techniques, the most important part of any successful performance training program is the connection that the coach makes with his or her athletes.  This connection starts by asking the athletes the right questions and then getting to know them.  I have outlined some of them for you above and now you must take the opportunity to use these questions with your athletes to create a strong connection.  One of my philosophies as a coach is that, “Your athletes do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  Take the time to demonstrate how important they are to you as both an athlete and a person and your training program will only deliver more results.

    Some day your athletes will no longer participate in organized sports.  At that time, the exercises you taught them will pale in comparison to the lessons you were able to deliver about hard work, leadership, commitment and discipline.   Your connection and training program will create the experiences that will lead to this development on a daily basis.  These are the experiences your athletes will remember for a lifetime.  I believe the greatest gift a coach can receive is when a past athlete returns and thanks them for the positive impact he or she made in their lives.  That gift is what coaching is all about.  

    For more information check out www.parisischool.com/businessopportunity    

    (December 2015)