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Speed Report: Running Ahead of Speed - Making it Doable and Challenging During the Season

by: Dale Baskett
Football Speed Specialist
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Making it Doable and Challenging During the Season

This is part I of a four-part series entitled, “Running Ahead of Speed.” The objective is to help you build a truly consistent results-oriented football speed and movement program. Like any endeavor that’s year -to-year, it must rely on certain required elements in order to truly maximize training success.

We’re all busy, and this can often determine what is done and how it’s done. Just running isn’t speed work. Running must be part of a plan of action based on quality, not quantity. I find this to be the exception, not the norm.

This series will clarify what “Running Ahead of Speed” means. There are non-specific applications that are not speed productive yet absorb your schedules and players’ energy. Each feature will emphasis a different aspect of speed development – mental, physical and technical. My goal is to put objectives in place for maximizing your time, effort, and results. This series will provide information and movement applications not commonly found which are scientifically football-speed specific. Getting ahead isn’t based on expedience; it’s just how we see it in our daily routines.   

Coaches can fall behind in speed development if the elements used are not significantly understood and applied correctly. If this reflects your situation, this series should be enlightening and extremely useful for present and future seasons.

We’re In-Season

Keeping the in-season training useful for everyone yet challenging is the easy part. Your sessions are shorter due to time constraints between games. The hard part is making sure you and your players value the in-season as much as the off-season, even with time problems. Too often the time crunch becomes overwhelming and the athletes lose resolve in making sure that quality and consistent performance and drills are of value.

Coaches need to hold players to a high standard. Quality is always the priority. I’m not suggesting lengthy training sessions. They’re not necessary, nor doable. However, training fresh and inserting brief but challenging skills is no less important than anything else you do during the season.

Once two weeks have passed, begin to establish your week-to-week progressive schemes. Try to provide two sessions per week for sustaining good off-season to in-season consistency. One session will work if that’s all the time you have.
Moving Forward

Whether one or two sessions is the choice, the key is to incorporate both speed and football movement drills that require the players to be focused and challenged on execution and not on volume. Mandate your plan to the players at the beginning of the sessions. Have a theme for the activity that they will be focused on. Reps will be minimum with controlled application at the variable speeds prescribed and should be strictly enforced. This assures your off-season to in-season transition within the time constraints. If this important application is overlooked, your time and usefulness is squandered. You can’t afford to let that happen.

Fast Forwarding the Season

This article should find you well into the season. At this point, you should insert speed, quickness and aggressive movement drills with proper technique.

You will find that, at this time of the season, players that are running well due to the routine of practice and games weekly. To be fast, we must run fast. This allows the metabolic actions involved to service the physical systems. Your players shouldn’t have issues with high intensity drills at this stage of aggressive movement demands unless they have joint or soft tissue injuries.

Therefore, you can require high intensities that are shorter in distances and multi-movement by design, paralleling game movement actions with controlled technique. Bear in mind that recovery between the applications requires high recovery and low volume. Fast twitch contraction is far greater a value at this time of year than worrying about numerous reps. Intense cyclic compounding of muscle contraction allows the neural function of the nervous system to reach production levels that have significant value to speed inducement. Once again, make sure you allow good recovery between applications and that technique is your overriding concern.

To the left I have included a handful of drill applications that will address the quickness, speed, and football movement transitions that should be helpful to your program.

Coach Baskett began his career as a football speed coach in 1979. During the last 35 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 and 858-568-3751. Website:


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