"To perform on the field at an alarmingly faster pace than previously thought possible and to dictate the ebb and flow, such that we dictate victory."
This is not a quaint little marketing phrase or a feel-good moment. It is about winning and losing, and while it is not a pleasant notion, the victor's podium is for the rare few who can separate from the pack. I have spent my life climbing to the top of the podium, and while it might not might you very popular to damn well get the tough job done, my athletes and my teams stand above the rest.
However speed is often misunderstood and have become linked with clever numbers that are very easy to manipulate and have little in common with results under fire. Akin to an educational system that teaches students how to test better as opposed to focusing upon improving knowledge, athletes are now taught how to run a better 40-yard dash but not necessarily become faster.
The focus of training must be towards enhancing " game speed," not testing day accomplishments. While this does not make for good marketing, considering sports media outlets inundate the public with times and notions, those at the elite levels of sport have learned the hard way that "sports combine" numbers do not necessarily equate to performance in sport.
While for professional teams this can be a highly expensive lesson to absorb when players do not attain their potential, the cost for the player is much deeper as it is the end of their sporting dream, rendering endless training seasons fruitless. Throughout my career I have consulted with NFL teams, telling them of upcoming first round busts and directing them to last round picks that have proven to be future All-Pros. Sadly the lesson is not always learned and copied throughout the world, I can think of one exceptional Footballer (" Soccer") who worked with a coach who virtually destroyed his " pace" and has seen his production nose-dive over that time. Very simply, the goal must be to develop the athlete so that he or she can accomplish their work in the field of competition and not for pristine testing days.
To begin our examination of linear speed development, it is best to understand the basics of velocity which is expressed in the simple formula of stride rate x stride length. There are a number of factors to consider within this subject such as strength, range of motion, movement efficiency and motor skills. It is an equally complex matter to consider that speed must be measured in "the fog of war," or in this case, competition.
Competition is always unpredictable and responsive to the opposition. The endless actions and reactions to the opposition must be understood within training mediums and the athlete cannot be trained within a static environment. If that is confusing, please let me use a perfect example of watching a football wide receiver trained purely as a track sprinter. The machine-like arm action might be perfect for the sprint lanes, but it is also a perfectly revealing key that an intelligent corner might use to understand when the receiver is " breaking down" for a catch. There are many older corners (CB) within professional football who understand this and though their speed has declined over time, they understand how much " cushion" they can give because the y know the players they cover may have better straight out speed but can't "break down" quickly. The point to this is that within athletic development training, we must recognize a generalized notion but always with keen eye towards the eventual specialized physical preparation (SPP).
This is very important to understand because while stride length will need to be developed in a variety of conditions, stride rate provides key information on understanding an athlete's potential.
Prior to getting started on our training regime we must calculate stride rate. To start, you need to determine the length of the athlete's stride. This should be done over two to four strides at top gear by measuring from the rear of the back leg to the top of the front leg, divided by the amount of strides. By taking a ten to twenty yard run-up, perform a flying "20" by subtracting the twenty yard "split" from the 40 yard. To calculate forty times, double the flying twenty and add .7 with a variation of .2 that will depend upon various elements such as start mechanics.
In reference to the chart below that quotes stride length down the far left column with the top row of the time for the flying twenty, stride rate can be evaluated. Using a cross-section of 20 yard sprint times that correlate to 40 yard times that range from 4.30 to 5.0 you are able to calculate the approximate stride rate.