Speed & Agility Training Zone!

Start & Acceleration

By: Stefan Underwood, Continual Improvement Manager

Looking to help the athletes you work with have a faster start? The key is a multifaceted approach with focus in 3 key areas. We call these elements the 3 Ps — position, pattern, and power. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a linear progression from position to pattern to power, but rather coaching all elements concurrently and only progressing your primary emphasis. Specifically, we don’t halt all power work until position is correct. We simply understand that while continuing to target an increase in power we’ll be limited in potential until position is attainable. This week we’ll take an in-depth look at each of the 3 Ps, and how to use them to enhance your clients’ success. Graphic Sample Pattern Exercises

If the athletes you support aren’t accelerating the way you’d like, their ability to achieve certain positions may be holding them back. Position is about both magnitude and direction of force to achieve the desired angles. But first you need to be sure they’re even physically capable of being in the body positions required to maintain those angles. Use the Pillar Prep and Movement Prep portions of their workout to address positional capabilities. Consider a 3-step TEC model: technical (what the movement should look like), error (what the athlete is doing wrong and why), and correction (how to fix it). For example, step 1 the athlete needs complete ankle range of motion; step 2 the athlete can’t get into a good 3-point start due to lack of range of motion at the ankle; step 3 addresses any restrictions surrounding the ankle. The sensory input provided by soft-tissue work paired with active dynamic flexibility over time will help facilitate desired position changes. Read this series to learn more about the TEC model http://education.athletesperformance.com/articles-2/exos-tec-model/, and use these movements to help your athletes loosen up and speed up. Graphic Keys to Relative Power

With positional limitations addressed, the nervous system is prepped to learn. Now focus on pattern — the sequencing and motor skills required to optimize performance. Work on global extension, flexion, and rotation to enhance the start position. Do this through the use of patterning exercises such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, or DNS, strategies. You can also look for constraint-based drills, such as holding a medicine ball overhead during a movement to promote posture, that lead the athlete to the correct positions. Once these patterns are reinforced, athletes will gain even more from power work (check back to learn more about power tomorrow). Once again we can apply the TEC model. If the technical model asks for complete hip extension, with the error being an inability at velocity to achieve that extension, your correction could be something along the lines of this sample series of patterning exercises targeting global extension.   Graphic Key to Linear Acceleration

While there are dozens of factors that contribute to power, two worth noting are upgrading nutrition to improve body composition and utilizing athletic profiling measures to navigate training emphasis. Start your athletes off with a basic evaluation such as a jump profile. This allows you to compare non-countermovement, countermovement, and depth jump heights. With this information, you can use the eccentric utilization ratio to assess whether increased power will best be derived from an increase in strength or an increase in rate of force development using speed-strength methods. Check out this article for more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17194252

For nutrition, movement is influenced by the power-to-weight ratio. Nutrition plays a key role in training acceleration if body composition isn’t ideal. Simply put, excess fat leads to more mass to move. Working with a dietitian can help your athletes stay lean and jump off the line faster. Graphic Soft Tissue excercises

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(May 2016)