Speed Training for Young Athletes

The latest session of the ‘Athletics Development Series’ was conducted by James Hillier, Head Coach at Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Center. In this session, Coach James shared his insights on speed training for young athletes. The session covered the different phases across age groups and drills to include in your training.

Coach James started the session by introducing the different types of speed. Speed can be:

  • Acceleration speed
  • Maximum speed
  • Endurance speed
  • Change of direction speed

There are certain considerations one must take into account when speed training, such as:

  • Time of the year
  • Technique
  • Intensity
  • Recovery
  • Volume
  • Strength & Power
  • Plyometrics

Speed training is all about using the right techniques to enhance pace. This included different target areas of speed training:

  • Posture:

        Activated core

        Head leads the movement

        Chest and hips should be ‘tall’

        Slight forward lean

        Hips in a neutral position

        Hip, knee and ankle in line during ‘support phase’

  • Arms

        Gives balance

       ‘In sync’ with the legs

        Help with force production

       ‘Ear to pocket’

        Hands should be relaxed or open

  • Legs

        Legs should move in a cyclic action

        Heel tucked into the backside

        Step over the knee to create high knee action

        Feet should be dorsiflexed

  • Force production

        Forces should be produced reactively

        Tendons vs Muscles

        Ground contact times

        Training athletic stiffness

An acceleration session can be phased into different stages. The key components of a speed training session are:

  • Block start
  • Drive phase
  • Transition phase

Coach James then demonstrated various drills and their technical benefits when included in speed training sessions. The session ended by summarising the different phases of the AMEC - Acceleration, Maximum, Endurance, Change of speed model.

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Speed Training for Young Athletes

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