Athletes and coaches know that you can gain an advantage in just a few steps when you have a better burst of speed.
Getting even a little bit ahead of an opponent means you can get to the ball first or cut the other player off. That helps you dominate the competition and is often decided in the first steps.
For pure acceleration, you need both great mechanics and good power. The Velocity Speed Formula is:
- Body Position
- Big Force
- Small Time
- Proper Direction
- Optimal Range of Motion
LEARN MORE: The Formula For Speed
You improve your acceleration mechanics so you can apply the components of the formula better.
Here are two strategies that have been successful with elite athletes including top draft picks preparing for the 40 yd Dash at the NFL Combine.
You can use these strategies to improve your acceleration mechanics.
Coaches can give you cues and feedback, but a great drill provides a lot of intrinsic feedback. The feedback that you feel and reinforce when you are doing it right or when your arent.
Drills that have constraints so you have to do them properly to be successful are “self-limiting.” You won’t be able to do it with the wrong technique.
Hill sprints fall into this category. The angle of the hill means your force vector (BIG FORCE and PROPER DIRECTION) will be right. To keep from catching your toe on the ground or falling onto your face, you will use an OPTIMAL RANGE OF MOTION.
Contrast training is a strategy that takes advantage of both neuromuscular and motor learning.
First, you use a drill that stimulates the neuromuscular system to generate more force. By going uphill you have effectively changed the angle of effect of gravity under your feet. You have to apply more force to get up the hill.
Then you go to a drill that removes that additional force requirement and let your body apply it in a free movement. After the hill sprints, you go and do the sprint on flat ground.
Now your body is primed and applying the same force in a horizontal vector on the ground to propel you forward faster.
Contrast training takes advantage of your physiology and motor control to make faster improvements in your acceleration mechanics.
Check out the video to see it being applied by Velocity’s Global High-Performance Director Ken Vick. Then go use these strategies to improve your acceleration mechanics.