If you want to be fast, it’s better to be a superball than a beach ball. It’s physics.

Visualize this by picturing 2 bouncing balls in your mind. One is a bouncy, superball made of a “stiff” rubber. The other is more like a beach ball and soft.

Which one bounces higher when it hits the ground?

The stiffer superball does because it applies the force to the ground and stores elastic energy. The beach ball absorbs some of the force and doesn’t have the elastic energy to rebound.

That’s like the reactive strength you need to sprint fast. If you’re stronger, then your muscles and tendons don’t relax or absorb the force. Instead, they store elastic energy, and use it to help you go faster.

This is important because the faster you go, the less time your foot can be in contact with the ground. Being like a superball helps you to achieve two parts of the Velocity Speed Formula; Big Force and Small Time.

To become more like a superball you need to develop specific strength qualities including Rate of Force Development and Reactive strength. Both of these should be developed both in the weight room and on the track or field.

Olympic lifts from a “hang” start position help develop that rate of force development. Muscle and tendon stiffness contribute to your reactive strength and need basic levels of maximum strength through squatting, deadlifting and lunging.

Plyometrics with a short ground contact are a way of developing both RFD and Reactive strength. You also develop this type of strength by doing sprint drills at high speeds.

If you want to be faster, be more like a superball. Get in the weight room and out on the track and to become stronger.

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