Need for speed: how young athletes get faster

As my old high school football coach used to say… Speed kills.

Even in physical sports like football, faster players usually have an advantage over bigger competition.

Speed training can be (and should be!) incorporated into an athlete’s workout routine and is an important part of the return to sport process in physical therapy. Whether your athlete is working to be the fastest on the field, track, or court, there are three key essentials to consider when trying to increase speed:

  1. Learn and practice the basics 

Just like any other sport, there is a technique to sprinting. You can do a few basic drills to practice sprint mechanics and emphasize proper foot strike, forward knee drive, and core activation for a fast and efficient stride. Marching, skipping, and high-knee run drills encourage this technique:


  1. Strength training! Quads, hamstrings, calves, core

Running fast requires more than moving limbs quickly to be successful. Strength is essential to running to create power, endurance and prevent injury. While athletes use virtually all their muscles to run at top speeds, some main movers for sprinting include the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. Compound lifts and single leg strength exercises targeting these muscle groups are a great way to make an athlete’s stride stronger:


  1. Practice accelerations and sprinting 

Speed training can be broken down into parts, starting with the initial acceleration. There are a few drills to help decrease the time it takes you to get from the start to full speed:


An athlete can progress into repeated sprint efforts. Some common sprint workouts include:

  • Flying 10s: Build speed for 20-30 yards, sprint for 10 yards, slow down for 20-30 yards
  • 10×10: Practice accelerating for 10 yards, then slowing down as fast as you can. Repeat 10 times.

Are you an athlete or the parent of a high school athlete working to be a step faster than the competition?

Here is your solution.

We are in the midst of summer, but it’s not too late to participate in our summer rising-start training program. In this program, your athlete will receive a personal performance assessment and a custom-designed speed program that our team will coach them through.

If you dream of leaving your competition in the dust, contact us to learn more and sign up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *