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AFM Magazine


Speed Report - Football Speed Information: Good News or Old News?

by: Dale Baskett
Football Speed Specialist
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I have been writing AFM’s Speed Report for 6˝ years and have traveled the country for 30 years engaging with coaches who want to learn “thorough and complete football speed training”. Not second-hand information that isn’t football speed specific. More specifically, lineal track techniques. Coaches should understand that these particular techniques don’t provide movement skills needed for football speed and/or transition speed that’s required to play fast and stay in control.

In addition, coaches need to avoid workouts that result in excessive fatigue. Speed training and fatigue are two separate metabolic energy systems. Less is more and more is less for speed work. Today, a majority of football coaches are still on the more side of things than less. Coaches need to learn and apply proven football movement techniques that will process the correct motion skills.

Head Coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and his strength and conditioning staff understand the right applications to improve players’ speed. Coach Carroll was fascinated with my movement development package and wanted it installed in his program. Getting the right applications in place will prevent wasting sweatthat marginalize results. The end results with the correct training methods will result in a faster and more consistent performance.
TOO FAST, TOO SOON

Coaches often move ahead of the learning curve too quickly. Rushing the foundational process will ultimately leave the athletes with underachieved potential. One should never be over-anxious for improving speed. It really is no different in the weight room. We all want maximal gain and that should be the goal. Anything done consistently over time will always give you some type of gain. This is where confusion and misunderstanding sets in with football speed training. The difference is having knowledge or not having an understanding of what really makes players run fast. 

For example, ladders and bungees are part of many speed drills. They are counterproductive for optimizing effective movement skills in football. All of you who want the best results for the time spent in speed training should initiate a change to less is more. Then, more of the correct training techniques will provide substantial change in less time.

I’ve spoken at many clinics over the years and I have come to realize that information for speed development didn’t serve coaches well enough. I felt that coaches would take the information and think they would have a good idea of how to teach speed properly. Much of the information taken turns into a quick fix approach that doesn’t develop a true processing package. Tips are helpful for straightening out incorrect functions but they do not process intense performance with sound control. That requires a series of drills that process systematically. Random applications are not teaching with a controlled progression. The design has to be more practices arranged different ways week-to-week without a supporting order of when to apply what’s next. Then and only then will you see more for

Force and contraction are key components for football speed which, in turn, creates acceleration. Acceleration is a major key to football performance. As important is control of velocity when it’s displaced from a linear motion. That must be developed progressively with specific training relative to the motions a player encounters on the field.

Try to provide varying movement challenges week-to-week to stimulate visualization of the task and heighten both focus and concentration. Bits and pieces of information instead of a sound bio-mechanical training system in place will never allow you to develop athletes properly. Benefit the time spent to maximize the energy put forth and watch your game speed go off the chart. Feel free to contact me at any time.

SOME SOUND INFORMATION TO GET YOU STARTED

These methods offer help with speed movements. A progressive drill series (a system) is the only way to have a football speed program.

1. Keep the hips up during all movement activity and velocity changes.

2. Keep the arms active during all movement and direction transitions – this is critical for increasing speed.

3. Have the eyes remain forward and level during all movement transitions.

4. Keep the elbows in on all movement changes.

5. When decelerating speed, keep the eyes always forward and shorten the stride length a step at a time. This is controlled deceleration.

6. All acceleration drills are to be faster, step-by-step to establish speed control with body control.

7. All burst drills require a quick short limb activation on the first active rotation taken.

There are many more techniques to help increase speed. This is part of a series with a progressive systematic training approach. It is a thorough way to improve team speed.  


Coach Baskett began his career as a football speed coach in 1979. During the last 34 years he’s consulted and trained hundreds of coaches and thousands of athletes nationwide. In the last year he has worked directly with high schools in California, Texas, Minnesota, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. Over the last few years he has also consulted with Texas Tech, Ohio State, USC, University of Washington, and the University of Mount Union. You can reach him directly for more information or if you have specific questions on your training program. Coach Baskett is at dbspeedt@hotmail.com and 858-568-3751.






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