If you are reading this post, it is likely because you are a parent of an athlete who is trying to figure out if speed training is beneficial and or necessary for your young athlete. It is my hope that this post will answer some questions and create some clarity as to what speed training is actually supposed to do, and why it will benefit your child.
First of all, kudos to you for taking the time to do some research before picking a speed training program. Training can be extremely beneficial and be a great experience for your child if done properly. Conversely, training can have some serious negative effects if done improperly, which is why research and education is so important.
For some tips on what to look for when selecting a speed training program, please check out my blog post: 3 Keys For Finding a Speed Coach .
So the big question is why. Why would speed training help my ______ year old daughter/son? The following are 6 key reasons why speed training is beneficial for kids of all ages and all sports.
Benefit #1: FUN!
This benefit is listed first, because, quite honestly, it is the most important. If the kids aren’t having fun, and feel as if they are being forced into training, they won’t get anything out of it. As long as the kids are having fun, learning different speed drills, speed skills and games is an excellent way to break up the monotony of practice and long stretches of competition, all the while achieving all of the additional benefits listed below.
Benefit #2: Injury Prevention
Ok, so lets clear the air really quick on this one. Speed trainers are not wizards or witches, or Gods and cannot actually prevent an injury from happening in the future. Injuries are a part of sports, and sometimes they just can’t be avoided. What quality, educated speed trainers can do, however, is dramatically decrease the odds your child will sustain an injury. Common injuries like ACL tears can be avoided if the body is properly trained and prepared. This benefit is listed second, but is equally important to your child having fun. The safer they are on the field/court, the more time they can spend playing, and the more fun they can ultimately have. If you get a chance, check out the blog mentioned above as to why the education and certification of the speed trainer you are with is so important.
Benefit #3: Improve Confidence
It has been said, “the person who thinks they can, and the person who thinks they can’t are both usually right.“ It is a magical experience watching the transformation of a young kid during a speed training program. On day one, they tip-toe into the session unsure of what they are doing and what they are getting themselves into. By the end of the program the athlete confidently jumps into the session, laughing and already having fun with the other kids. Over the course of the program, they improve upon the different speed drills, which helps them believe that they can get better at anything. This is where you see the carryover onto the field. The confident athlete who believes they can, is going to have much more fun, and much more success than the not-so-confident athlete who is unsure if they can. Even if they aren’t the best athlete on the field, if they are confident and having fun, isn’t that what really matters?
Benefit #4: Establish Work Ethic
I think we can all agree on the importance of teaching kids about work ethic. The sooner they learn that if want something; you need to work for it, the better. Speed training has a great way of leveling the playing field in certain situations. Sometimes young athletes who are naturally gifted within their sport, walk into a speed session expecting to dominate the session. Often times they are rudely awakened by a drill they have never done before. All of a sudden, the gifted athlete who is used to dominating every drill in practice is being challenged by all of the other athletes. This helps the gifted athletes understand that they are not going to be the best at everything, and that they need to keep working to continue getting better. This situation also helps give the athletes who aren’t quite as gifted gain the confidence to compete with the more gifted athletes. This competition provides an atmosphere where everybody can get better, have success and have fun.
Benefit #5: Team Building
Creating a fun, competitive atmosphere can have a tremendous impact on team chemistry and camaraderie. When the athletes establish a culture of hard work and competition, they share experiences. When kids and athletes share experiences, this helps them build bonds and lasting friendships over the course of the season and beyond. The better the athletes know each other, the more chemistry they can develop as a team. When teams have better chemistry they can achieve higher levels of success, even without the most talented athletes.
Benefit #6: Improve Performance
And the last but not least benefit of a speed training program is…. Improved speed! That’s what speed training should do right? Improve speed? A quality speed training program will absolutely help your athlete become faster, more agile, and safer as previously discussed. How, you might ask? Learning and improving upon the fundamentals of speed, power and multidirectional speed skills will immediately make your athlete faster, more agile, more powerful and most importantly, safer during practice and competition. The key there was speed skills. Yes, all facets of speed and power can be learned and improved upon just like learning to hit a baseball. Teaching athletes to get into proper positions when jumping, landing, accelerating, and changing directions has been proven to have a tremendous impact on performance as well as injury prevention. I discuss this in further detail in my blog: 3 Keys for Finding a Speed Coach.
I hope that this blog has created some clarity as to why speed training is beneficial for athletes of every sport and age level. To recap, a quality speed training program should:
Aid in injury prevention
Help Improve Confidence
Help Establish Work Ethic
Aid in Team Building, Chemistry and Camaraderie
Improve Speed Skill Qualities
If you have any questions or need additional information regarding your athlete, feel free to reach out to me at any time. I would love to help! Please leave comments or questions below, or contact me directly at Steve@beyondmeasuretraining.com
Thank you for reading!
CSCS, Director of Training
Beyond Measure Training