Whilst a large number of sportsmen and women will fail to reach
their maximum speed when competing, due to fatigue and the opportunity for uninterrupted
sprinting, this does not mean that velocity training should be overlooked, with
many still viewing this attribute as the most important for enhancing
However, the majority of coaches will look at improving both the
fatigue of players, as well as throwing in some short springs during training
sessions for good measure. It is clear to see that sports such as football and
rugby union are dominated by those with great pace, meaning that athletes
should have a greater exposure to maximum velocity training. Those at the top of
their sport are likely to have the ability to avoid fatigue whilst competing, meaning
that speed could ultimately be the key to outlasting opponents.
It is believed by many that over-conditioning can actually have
a negative factor on athletes, including making players slower. As a result, those
looking to improve speed should time every sprint completed, with competition
increasing when figures are involved. Many exercises are completed at between 60-80%
velocity, meaning that the body adapts to such demands. As well as this, many coaches
fear that their players will not have the conditioning required to get the
better of their rivals, overvaluing endurance training in the process.
It is important for coaches and players to understand that improving
your maximum speed is a sure-fire way of enhancing endurance, especially for
those involved in team sports. Research has found that when top speed is increased,
so does speed reserve. As a result, the demands required in order to both
achieve and maintain this pace are reduced. Maximum speed training improves conditioning,
along with acceleration, two traits which are important for any athlete.
Acceleration over short distances is fairly simple to improve
with little impact upon maximum speed, however the same cannot be said of the
reverse. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded earlier
this year that maximum velocity is crucial to short-distance sprinting. In
fact, even the smallest of improvements when it comes to top speed can effect
the entire acceleration profile, with a half-metre-per-second improvement in
speed leading to a 10th of a second improvement over 20 yards.
Developing speed certainly requires a significant amount of time
and patience, with aerobic performance having to be improved. So, just how can coaches
work with athletes when it comes to improving maximum speed?
The majority of athletes reach somewhere between 93-96% of their
maximum speed over the first 20 yards of a sprint, with less mindless conditioning
drills being required, along with a greater emphasis upon velocity work. Whilst
players will not often get the chance to hit top speed in regular competition, those
who work hard to improve this area of their game will often be the ones who
come out on top over an opponent.
While pressing the ball in order to regain possession is not a new tactic in football, it is certainly a strategy that has become more common across the pitch in the modern game. So, just what are the advantages of pressing and why has it become so popular?
Whilst this is often seen as something of a controversial subject, many coaches will have opinions on the differences, if any, when it comes to training male and female athletes. Whilst there are many similarities, there are perhaps also some differences which should be explored and understood.
Football is constantly evolving, with the days of all teams utilising a 4-4-2 formation being over. Modern-day managers, such as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, have helped to revolutionise the sport today, with the best teams being able to move between strategies, rather than sticking to one simple game plan.