The Secret to Speed ISN’T Your Legs

When people think of getting faster they think of legs, but speed is directly related to what you do with your arms. The arms stabilize your torso which lets power efficiently transfer through your hips and legs. The tempo of your arms controls the action of your feet. Increasing the speed of a correct arm swing will force your feet to turnover faster. And, if your arms cross or “flap” rather than power forward and back, your center of gravity is going to be off, your balance is off, and you lose forward momentum.

To use your arms to produce power and speed you need to maintain a 90 degree elbow angle, which will ensure your power is pushing you forward, not sideward. The hand is open rather than clenched in a fist which reduces resistance. The hand should hit the height of your back pocket on the back swing and your cheek on the upswing, adding the maximum power push.

Get your arms right; you’ll be faster. At Parisi Speed School we know that when we get the arms moving correctly running speed will follow. Learn more about our youth speed training here.

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Don’t Short Change the Warm Up

One play, one hit, one rep is all it takes for an athlete to become injured. One of the ways to help prepare ourselves for sport, or for training, is with a warm up. Unfortunately, while the warm up is one of the most important things an athlete can do, time and again, I see athletes, and teams, going through the motions, and not investing themselves into the warm up. They view this time as social hour, and not as the start of training. Failing to warm up properly, diminishes the effect that training will have on an athlete, as well as diminish their performance on the field of play.

The warm up is goal oriented.

What is the task at hand?

What do I need to accomplish?

What are the consequences if I am not mentally and physically prepared to perform these tasks?

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The warm up is a chance for athletes to work on their biomechanics, and make them more efficient. Athleticism is tied into having the ability to orchestrate a variety of movement patterns. This is a low stress opportunity, especially for young athletes, to make the connection between what their bodies should be doing, and what they actually are doing, and make corrections. Having athletes focused on the inputs of their coaches, and applying their directions, instead of joking with their friends about the most recent gamer video on YouTube, will serve to enhance this connection between body and mind, and the results will show in training and the playing arena.

We train movements. It is the ability by which an athlete can contract his/her muscle fibers to produce accurate and powerful movement patterns which determines how good he/she moves. We have all seen athletes who move with such grace and what looks like ease. This is because all movement is controlled by the central nervous system. If you ever read Daniel Coyle’s the talent code, the premise is the more focused the training or practice, the better that training or practice is.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Focused training does not equate to hours of training. An athlete who during warm ups, focuses in on his/her movements, and performs the warm up with intent, will improve more rapidly, and with fewer sessions than an athlete who just shows up. By failing to be present and focused during the warm up, athletes are failing to be physically prepared for their endeavor.

Lastly, athletic performance depends greatly on a combination of psychological factors. It does not matter how physically prepared an athlete is, if they are mentally weak, they will not achieve the level of play their physical capacities may allow them, as they will fail to perform during high stress moments. An athlete can be their own biggest limiting factor. The warm up is a perfect opportunity to practice concentration and focus, as well as regulating emotion, By using the warm up as a way to stimulate the psyche as well as the body, athletes help prepare themselves for long-term playing arena success.

4 Tips for Better Athlete Recovery - Tip 4

4. Offseason

Every sport needs and off-season. A 10-year-old should not play the same sport 12 months out of the year, unless we want them to quit in high school. Multi-sport athletes, with appropriate off-seasons, are set up for long-term success.

Taking these steps to encourage recovery and reduce overuse and burnout can make a significant positive impact on an athlete’s long-term development. Remember that 8- and 12-year-olds are not professional athletes, therefore they should not be treated like them. Youth sports should first be fun, playing multiple sports, and most of all, athletes want to be supported, not pressured by their parents. Let the coaches do the coaching, and I promise your child will love you for it.

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