TRAINING FOR SPEED IN TACTICAL PERFORMANCE

 

 

Growing up as an athlete left me with this wrong conception that speed was an inbuilt thing. You either have it or you do not have it. It took people a quick glance over the playing ground to ascertain who was blessed with speed and who was not.

Another wrong notion was that the one blessed with speed would always have it and the one who does not have speed simply does not. So people who were seen as not having the speed trait were overlooked and the conclusion stamped on them that it was something they would never have.

Never did people try to find that speed trait in everyone. We all just thought it was as simple as having it or not having it. However, as a strength and fitness coach, I can tell you that speed, like many other things, is just a trait. And what is more? It can be developed by anybody.

I have had the opportunity to train with different people, old and young, men and women. I would be lying if I said I did not like some more than others. Some of my trainees just take to the program while others have a little difficulty doing so.

I have fighters and military personnel as my favourites. They treat the program as a work, something that must be done. So you just cannot help but admire their tenacity, seriousness and dedication.

This article is about the development of speed and even though I am not military myself, I will give as much of an honest review of athletic greens as I can. This is because I understand the need for strength, speed and performing when it matters.

When you are faces with danger and survival counts on how fast you are, you will agree with me that one cannot think of a better individual to be in this situation than one who is very fit physically and is at their best.

In this type of situation of which I speak, speed might very well be your only chance of survival. Now before we become confuses about speed, I would like to explain that speed is the increase in rate at which an athlete performs a certain task. I will break this down further;

—acceleration speed is the speed from stop to start
—deceleration speed is the speed from start to finish
—linear speed is speed in a straight line
—lateral speed is speed from side to side.

These are the four types of speed we can work on developing in the body. Before we go on, I would like to state that strength is at the core of speed. You need strength to be fast. Imagine an athlete running and then suddenly trying to stop or change direction.

If the athlete is weak, he folds up like a sack of clothes and goes tumbling. We have probably witnessed this scenario a number of times. The is why the athlete needs strength. With strength, the athlete can stabilize himself.

 

 

Also, in order to be fast, you have to train really fast. Sometimes the application of strength in training for tactical speed is misplaced as you will see I'm the scenario below.

Scenario: an athlete is attached to a sled loaded with heavy material so he can drag it for a designated distance. The sled is so heavy that it restricts movement and he had to dig his feet into the ground and move slowly.

Even though the scenario above is a strength development exercise does little to improve the athlete's speed. The athlete should have a sled which is light enough to allow rapid movement. That will make for a true resisted speed drill.

Then there is plyometric, which is a great way to enhance speed and performance. The activities that fall under this involve most moments that produce rapid short burst muscular movement. Exercises like skipping, jumping and bounding fall under this.

Plyometric can be seen as a sort of trigger for speed development. This is because when we indulge in the activities, there is this fast muscle and tendon reaction known as stretch shortening cycle (SSC) that occurs.

This training effect, we get from plyometric allows us to perform at a high speed level with less chances of injury. In developing speed and multidirectional speed, plyometric has to be part of our program.


 

It is like stretching out muscles and tissues in the same way you stretch a rubber band before you let it fly. This effect allows us to be able to jump, sprint and perform faster than we ordinarily could and is one of the very important part of the speed development program.

We have to bear in mind that acquiring true speed requires us performing activities that will cause us to move faster at a higher rate of speed. And of course true speed can be achieved by all as long as you keep fit and follow the program.

Training for speed in relation to tactical performance allows you to get in and out of tough situations very fast because your body will now be performing at a higher speed rate.

Speed elements can be made to come out to the forefront when a little stress is put on activities that one performs in such a way that he is still able to do it fast despite the resistance.

All of this will come from smart loading so that the athlete does not injure himself doing it, then rightfully applied plyometric activities. It should come complete with a well planned strength building program as strength is still at the core of speed development.

There is also the issue of training smart. Know what you are going for and do not overdo it, or do so little that it does not show.

Training smart will also help you avoid unnecessary injuries which you would have otherwise taken upon yourself.