3 Rules for Developing Speed

Posted by Latif Thomas


If I had to pick one thing that contributed to the success of my sprints/hurdles/jumps program this year, especially being in a new (distance runner based) school, it would be this:

I went back to the basics.

And the truth is I simply had no choice.

This spring, for example, I had to teach my system to over 100 kids (who didn’t know a drive phase from a penultimate step), cover all the sprints/relays/hurdles/jumps and get it all done every day in 2 hours. With one 22 year old, fresh out of school assistant coach.

Needless to say, there were days I would look at this mass of children, half of which couldn’t do a bodyweight squat to parallel, and thought to myself:

“Don’t cry, Latif. You can pull this off. I know you just saw a kid fall down while trying to skip.  And yes, those kids are out of breath from the warm up lap. And, sure, many of your varsity athletes are leaving practice to go play soccer. But no worries. Just focus on the present moment.”

Or something like that…

I realized that it wasn’t going to matter how deep my knowledge was on the sprints, hurdles or jumps. There were too many kids with very low training ages in too many events. And I was spread too thin to try and get cute with training. I had to lay a basic foundation that applied to every event group. And so that’s what I did. I kept it simple, studied the patterns, found the commonalities between event groups, worked on basic biomotor skill development and threw conventional periodization into the trash.

And it worked. The kids broke 12 school records in 2011. And that was fun times for everyone.

So here is the article I’d like you to take a look at today. For some of you it will be a review on the basic structure of running a sprints/hurdles/jumps program and teaching acceleration. For others (especially those of you with distance backgrounds) it will further define the structure of developing speed/power athletes/events. And for athletes in average programs, you’ll realize why you didn’t run faster this season.

Regardless of your situation, check out the 3 Laws of Speed Development.

To your success,

Latif Thomas

P.S. Early bird registration for the 2011 NE Sprints & Jumps Clinic ends on June 15. Sign up now!

==> New England Sprints & Jumps Clinic



Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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