Every athlete that plays a sport on their feet will be required to run at some point. For some reason, most kids growing up don't spend much time learning how to run, yet are required to do so at every practice and game. This forces kids to figure out how to learn on their own by watching their peers, teammates or opponents. This does work out for some kids, but not everyone. With improper guidance these athletes develop little quirks and compensation patterns that can lead to issues, if not injuries, down the road as their bodies develop. I have seen many kids have the desire to learn how to run faster, yet they are ill equipped and need to start from scratch. This is where single leg strength, balance and coordination come to the rescue.
When some people think of strength training, they automatically think of lifting weights and barbells galore. I had similar thoughts until I learned more about gymnastics training and yoga, where the focal points are more about how well you can control your body in certain positions and how well can you transition from one position to the next. This has been described to me as "motor control,'' which to me is much more valuable than just moving a heavy object up and down. This ability to control yourself is where I start all of my athletes as we begin our journey of strength training.
Here is one way you can start to increasing your own "strength" and identify if one leg is weaker than the other.
And if you need some work on the balance and coordination here is a great drill you can do on a daily basis.
These basic drills can help any athlete set the foundation for effective speed training. I highly encourage you start with strength, balance and coordination before diving into a speed specific program that has you sprinting at full speed. Remember slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
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