Myths Surrounding Speed Training

Top 8 speed training myths

Patrick Beith explains some of the myths that surround speed development

1. Static stretching prepares you to compete/practice

Static stretching actually reduces power output. Athletes should prepare for practice by undertaking a dynamic warm-up that moves from basic, low intensity movements to faster, more explosive movements as the muscles loosen up. You want to simulate movements that athletes will go through in practice or a game.

2. Strength training makes females too bulky

This is a popular attitude with many female athletes that we have worked with. Simply look at some elite female athletes like Mia Hamm, Lisa Leslie, etc. These athletes certainly train with weights and no one would accuse them of having manly physiques. Strength training will improve performance and reduce injury if performed correctly.

3. You cannot train speed

For some reason it is a popular belief that you are born with a certain amount of ‘speed’ and you cannot improve it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most young athletes are so physically weak and mechanically out of tune that significant improvements in speed can be made, often just by working on technique and form. Athletes at any age and any level can improve speed when implementing a complete speed training programme designed to improve and develop the entire athlete.

4. Training slow makes you fast

I do not think athletes directly think this way, but their training implies otherwise. This is especially true in sports that involve a higher aerobic element, such as football, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. I see kids out running mileage and doing long, slow intervals of several minutes of continuous running. But in games I see kids jogging, jogging and then sprinting at full speed for 20-30 yards, run, jog, and sprint for 20-30 yards. If you want to improve your acceleration and top speed so you can get to the ball faster or get back on defence, then you have to train by running at full speed in practice.

5. You can train hard every day

The workout itself is only one piece of the training puzzle. It is the time between intense workouts, the recovery, where athletes make their improvements. And generally it takes 36-48 hours to recover from high intensity training. If athletes are doing too much, too often they become over trained. You can expect an increase in injuries, more frequent soreness, decreased performance and higher levels of