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Every athlete can benefit from becoming faster and more explosive, no matter what sport or what position. In regards to playing at the next level, whether college or professional, you often hear commentators say that players must adjust to the “speed of the game.” This means that being successful at the next level of your sport requires that you maximize your athleticism. If you strive to play college athletics, it is necessary to get the most out of your body and to stay as healthy as possible. Doing these five things to help you become a faster and more explosive athlete will help you reach your potential:
- Become Flexible and Mobile – That’s right! Flexibility is a strong key to becoming faster and more powerful. The reason is because athletes who have great range of motion allow for better energy uptake. Your muscles need to load with energy and a more flexible muscle allows for greater potential energy. The more potential energy, the more power can be produced. Being flexible also allows for great stride length during sprinting and will also decrease the risk of injury. Mobility, specifically ankle mobility, is a key in running and cutting faster. Greater ankle mobility will help the athlete press off of the ground harder and apply more force forward. Flexibility also helps the athlete recover better.
- Olympic Lift/Explosive Movements – Olympic lifting has always and will always be a mainstay of fast athletes. Olympic lifting allows for great power production through what is called triple extension. Triple extension takes place in every sport; it is the body’s alignment of the ankle, knee and hip in full extension. Generating force through that extension is what creates speed and power. Not everyone has to Olympic lift like olymians, especially if you’re younger. Other exercises, like kettle bell swings, will also teach hip strength and teach triple extension.
- Reactive Jumping – As you move through a program you should work up to reactive jumping. This would involve hurdle jumps as an example. Jump training again teaches the body how to produce power. Learning to load your body and move that load across a distance both vertically and horizontally is a benefit to any athlete. Reactive jump training teaches triple extension but more importantly teaches how to reproduce the load quickly.
- Work on your Start – Whatever sport you play your start is a vital component on becoming faster. Starting properly puts you in a position to get from point A to point B faster. Practicing 10-yard dashes will help you understand if your start is becoming faster.
- Reactive Speed Drills – Adding reactive training will help in your first step quickness and with your hand eye coordination. Adding drills like a tennis ball drop will benefit any athlete. How to do the tennis ball drop is very simple. Have someone stand about 7-10 yards away with a tennis ball at shoulder height. The athlete will be in the ready position and will wait for the partner to drop the ball. The goal is to get the ball before it hits the ground a second time. For baseball athletes starting in the base stealing position is very beneficial.
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