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Training RevolutionHow to turn your school into a pro-caliber speed and agility training center
© June 2007
Ed Dudley, Head Football Coach for Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia faced a situation that plagues many coaches at top programs. He was confident that his school had a good strength program, but he knew his team had to become faster and more agile in order to go deeper in the playoffs. “We had several players going to a few different trainers and you could see a big difference in their foot work. I knew we needed to find the best speed and agility program that we could manage ourselves, and let all the kids benefit from it, not just the skill positions.”
Dudley’s solution: invest in a revolutionary, self-contained speed and agility training program that brings the benefits of pro-caliber sports performance training directly to all of Walton’s athletes. The patent-pending SpeedStation, created by Atlanta-based Speed to Win, Inc., has built-in training stations along with additional equipment that allows a coach to set up drills for over 75 athletes. According to Dudley, the new program has had a major impact with his team. “The Speed to Win program has already made a big difference and now is just as important as our strength program.”
The SpeedStation concept represents a major innovation in how athletes are trained; giving coaches capabilities and options that had only been available at expensive, off-site facilities. “Just as the traditional weight room has evolved from the early days of a single Universal gym to today’s multi-station facilities with top-caliber equipment, we think that the SpeedStation is the next step in the evolution of total sports performance training,” said Matt Thompson, CEO of Speed to Win.
Walton’s SpeedStation Pro unit is measured at 8’ by 20’ and is positioned atop a 45’ by 60’ infill synthetic turf training area; an option offered by Speed to Win that holds up well under the stress of frequent training. When closed, the unit resembles a small garage or storage unit. When in use, coaches and PE instructors can utilize resistance bands for change of direction drills, hip flexor and hamstring quickness drills, quad and glut explosion drills, and even upper body quickness and hand speed drills which are set up in stations that athletes use on a rotating basis. There are also eight additional stations that include a wide variety of training equipment like cones, ladders, sleds, hurdles, etc. and over one hundred different drills that are set up in the surrounding areas.
While having all the training equipment housed in one central unit has been invaluable to programs like Walton, it is complimented with software which comes pre-loaded with pro-caliber training programs. Speed to Win has teamed with XPE Sports’ Tony Villani, who trains Pro Bowl players such as Hines Ward, Jamal Lewis, Takeo Spikes and others at his Atlanta facility, to design a comprehensive training regimen that is incorporated into the Speed To Win package. “Having the XPE program as part of our solution allows us to take a proven, NFL-caliber speed training program to schools everywhere. The drills are designed to take advantage of the SpeedStation’s unique capabilities and produce results that were formerly available only to elite athletes through expensive training facilities,” according to Jeff Jenkins, President of Speed to Win.
While the company is called Speed to Win, Thompson and Jenkins explain that there is much more to the program than producing faster athletes. “The equipment and drills that make up the SpeedStation also improve athletes’ agility, flexibility, power and explosiveness, while at the same time helping to prevent injuries by strengthening tendons and ligaments,” according to Thompson. “Speed training is evolving along the same path as weight training and will soon be just as widespread,” he pointed out. “But the field, and the specific program we’ve developed for coaches to manage themselves, should really be known as sports performance training since athletes benefit in so many other ways in addition to increased speed. Our program builds and develops athletes for all sports and pushes them to the next level.”
A key component of the Speed to Win program is the web-based, state-of-the-art software program developed specifically to help coaches automatically identify training programs for each individual athlete, monitor and update their progress and organize and coordinate schedules with other coaches – allowing every athlete at the school to utilize the SpeedStation. General PE and sport-specific workout programs are included with the software, and coaches can access online videos that guide them through teaching and training methods to maximize the SpeedStation’s effectiveness. Each coach, team, or class has their own web pages for calendars, workout schedules and descriptions, and athlete tracking/progress charts.
In practice, the software support program is the key to taking full advantage of the benefits the Speed to Win program can deliver. “The Speed to Win software has made managing the Speed training program easy,” said Strength, Speed and Conditioning Coach John Evans at Walton. “It provides me a calendar with a training schedule to follow. After profiling the kids, the software automatically generates the correct workout to follow and what areas they need to improve on. Plus, the demonstration videos have been a big help in demonstrating proper techniques.”
Something unexpected has also happened at Walton; students are actually looking forward to and enjoying workouts. “Kids in my PE classes and on the football team really appreciate the Speed to Win program. Even though it is hard and really pushes them, they know it is more than just conditioning and that they are doing the same drills as the pros,” said Evans.
Speed to Win’s Thompson believes that virtually any high school or college will benefit by having their own SpeedStation. “It’s really a coming revolution in sports performance training,” he said. “Speed and agility are just as important to a football team’s success as strength, and the SpeedStation program is the most comprehensive program ever designed for on-campus training. It will benefit all students, not just football players. We have different models for different budgets and much of the cost can be recouped by sponsorships of the units and time-sharing arrangements with other area schools, feeder programs, or Park and Recreation organizations.”
SpeedStations for any size School and Budget
Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Andy Hallman of Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, SC felt that his team had plenty of size and needed to improve their speed and agility to effectively compete. “We really couldn’t afford to send all our players to a training facility, and we also thought it was important to train together as a team with our coaches,” said Hallman. “As the AD, I needed a speed and agility program that could support all sports, not just football.”
The solution for Hillcrest was the mobile SpeedStation that, while smaller, more portable and less expensive than the SpeedStation Pro, still comes with the equipment, training program and software support that make the Speed to Win program so unique and effective. “When we learned about the Speed to Win program, it had everything we were looking for; a proven training program, a SpeedStation that could be used outdoors or in the gym, software to help us manage our athletes’ individual programs, and all the equipment we needed to set up our own on-campus facility. And it was within our budget guidelines,” according to Hallman. “We are thrilled with the results.”
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