In order to improve improve performance there are two things we do. First is that we make sure you are moving correctly so that we are not building fitness on dysfunction. Too often I see people want to get fitter, faster or better only to break down during the process. Watch the video on functional screening to see how we use the most up to date techniques to make sure you stay injury free and moving freely when we go about improving your performance.
Once you have a good base I have a set philosophy that I use. Read this article and see if you agree with me. If you do then I will be able to help you, if not I won’t. If you want me to work with your team on a consultancy basis or individually just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the article I wrote for the Kilkenny People
Improve Speed on the pitch
This article is for our runners and hurlers who think just doing a lot of sprinting will make you fast. WRONG. Becoming quick is much more complex than that. We are training students to have degrees in strength and conditioning because there is so much science behind what you have to do to get quick, strong, powerful AND STAY HEALTHY.
First step in getting you quicker, understand that speed does not come down to one thing. What stage of running are you struggling with? What do I mean? Well is it the first 10 metres that your man gets away from you, is it from 10 to 20 metres that other players are catching up or is it that your all out speed is not up to scratch? Maybe it’s all three!! I will answer how to work on all these questions (even if it is all 3). The first thing to recognise is that these 3 categories require different training to improve.
Slow off the mark (0-10 metres): This requires that you work on acceleration. Off the mark speed is all about FORCE. How much force can you push into the ground. How much force can your muscles generate. This requires that you get strong. Split squats, heavy squats and single leg deadlifts are good exercises to use here. The goal is to get your muscles to produce more force. Think about it like a car. This first stage is all about how much horse power you have. If you don’t have much horse power then it will be difficult to get your car to go fast.
Maximum speed (10-20 metres): In a 100m sprint this is phase is longer but for a match example this is generally seen running 10 to 20 metres. This portion is not about strength, you should have good strength from the last phase. This phase is about power, which is the ability to use your strength quickly. Your foot is only on the ground for split seconds and so you need to be able to generate force quickly. Think about our car, we might have a lot of horse power in the engine but if that horse power does not spin the wheels quickly then the car will not be that fast. To improve your power I recommend weighted squat jumps. Get into a squat position holding 2 10kg dumbbells, try jump as high as you can. Another great thing to do here is push a car (or sled at 12.5% your bodyweight if you have proper equipment) for 10 seconds. Both of these get you using the strength you have quickly. This will really improve your maximum speed capacity.
Finally maintaining speed: This is about putting it all together. In this phase it is about being specific. You should not really use weights in this phase. Instead do lighter sled runs, try to bound across a pitch or do 10 single leg hops each side and then into a sprint. You need to teach your body how to use the new strength you have given it.
In conclusion to improve your speed first you have to improve the capacity of the engine (maximum amount of strength you can generate). Then you have to improve the engine power output so that all the cylinders fire at once (generally through jumps with weight). Finally you need to make sure all the power from the engine converts to speed on the road.
For videos of the exercises mentioned in this article or for more information email email@example.com and I will send them on to you.