One of the key elements that make a successful athlete is high speed. Nine times out of ten, the teams or athletes with the most speed are going to win.
While everybody agrees on the importance of speed in order to be successful in sports, not all coaches focus on developing the skill of speed as a preliminary element of their training. Arguably the biggest myth in all of sports says you can’t coach speed -that athletes are born with “it” or they aren’t.
Speed, strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance are all skills requiring specific attention during practice and those who do not train focusing on these elements are simply not prepared to compete at high levels.
Speed can be taught and improved. There are training strategies and overspeed training equipment that can help coach speed. Because some people aren’t “naturally fast” some coaches wrongly assume there is little they can do about it. While it’s true not every athlete can be an Olympic 100 meter runner, most athletes have never been taught how to run or move correctly. As they improve their technique and practice focused training, the athletes will operate at a much higher percentage of their full potential.
The best type of trainers that helps athlete get the most out of speed training is unweighted training equipment.
The unweighted training equipment allows you to run at a fraction of your body weight.
There are several different unweighted training devices, but the basic idea in all of them is that the athlete is supported in a harness or an inflated enclosure and this way he/ she can run on a treadmill or on a track without pressure on his/ her joints and ligaments and without his legs having to support his full body weight.
Exercise physiologists reckon that it’s easier to “teach” muscle cells to function at accelerated firing rates if the nerves and muscles don’t have to simultaneously worry about supporting full body weight.
Unweighted training devices:
The Alter-G treadmill creates a seal around the user’s waist and then inflates to create a pressurized environment that can take away up to 80% of the user’s body, lessening the pounding to the joints. The running speed and incline can be adjusted, along with what percent of weight should be removed.
The GlideTrak is basically a specialized metal frame that goes over pretty much any treadmill. The athlete is strapped into the metal frame and runs on the treadmill with virtually zero impact. The straps are parachute grade 8,000 lbs tested, so the device is very stable and secure.
The GlideCycle is similar to the GlideTrak, but it is an outdoor device. The athlete is again supported by straps in a seat, but the frame he is strapped into has two wheels, just like a bicycle. The GlideCycle has no pedals, so the rider pushes himself/ herself forward using his/ her legs.
We will be publishing more posts on speed and overspeed training, so keep an eye on our blog.
For more information on the above mentioned devices, click on the links in their names. You will be taken to pages where you can find more information, pictures and lots of videos.