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Dominant Abilities / Coordination / Strength / Speed / Endurance / Technique / What happens to the body when it gets in motion / Conditioning for Rowing / Anaerobic Threshold / Heart-rate Training -zones / Phases of Adaptation / Supercompensation / Annual Programming / Variety / Training for Young Athletes / Advice for young rowers
One of the major requirements in many sports is speed. In sports such as sprinting, soccer, cycling, hockey, fencing, games and many other team sports, speed is a major factor determining the overall outcome. For endurance athletes speed can mean the ability to win in a sprint finish or break away from an opponent in a tactical situation. Training speed, like strength, is crucial for athletes of all ages and abilities. Children should be encouraged from a young age to continuously strive to be quicker. Developing and elite athletes must continuously strive to find new ways to develop speed, and older masters athletes must conscientiously train speed since it is more easily lost through the aging process.
The motor ability known as speed incorporates three elements:
1. The reaction time
Heredity plays an important role in performing quick movements. However, most of the factors included in speed can be improved through training.
Reaction Time is the time between the moment when the individual is exposed to a stimulus and the first muscular reaction. Although reaction time is largely inherited, it can be improved through training. Most research suggests that reaction to both visual and verbal stimuli are shorter for trained than for untrained people. Reaction time in sports is crucial in both simple situations such as the gun shot in sprinting and complex situations when a choice is required. In many team sports this is the foundation for tactical advantages, which may eventually determine the outcome of a game.
Time of the simple movement is dependent on Power. The ability to overcome resistance in the shortest possible time is the next determinant factor limiting fast movements (after reaction time). During training or competition the athlete meets external resistance through natural elements such as gravity, air, water, wind, snow as well as through the weight of equipment such as a javelin, shot or discuss or the weight of an opponent such as in football or wrestling. To improve speed in such a situation, one must increase the force of the muscular contraction.
Often the movements must be not only quick, but also must be repeated over a long time. In this situation both power and speed training have to be accompanied by muscular endurance development to produce speed endurance.
An athletes speed and frequency are determined by technique. Performing sports skills economically with ease, correct positioning of body levers and good neuro-muscular coordination will result in efficient use of energy and a higher speed of the movement. In addition to relaxation ability, joint flexibility is an important ingredient for performing movements with high amplitude (e.g. long stride in running), which in many sports is essential to execute optimum range of movement for maximum speed.
Speed is determined not only by mobility and well - synchronized neuro-muscular response but also by the frequency of the precise nervous impulses and strong concentration. This is because quick, explosive movements depend on a high level of power. Willpower and strong concentration are very important factors in achieving high speed. Exercises of will must be included in the training process to achieve a high level of speed.
Before you plan your speed workouts you should look at the different requirements of speed for different sport groups.
• max speed required in all or major aspects of complex multi-choice movements
• max speed required in simple and complex movements, in uniformed or cyclic movements (running, swimming, cycling and speed skating sprints, jumps, etc)
• max speed performed against significant external resistance in complex movements in relatively standard situations (weight lifting, shot put, discus, gymnastics, water skiing, ski jumping, figure skating, etc.)
• expression of the level of speed determined by the level of endurance
To build the right training program for speed, it is crucial to set and control elements of the load.
Speed work for sports where speed plays dominant or supportive role should be carried out all year around, even in the off season. It can be included in the warm up or used in breaks between longer pieces to offset monotony of base workouts for endurance athletes. The level of speed and effectiveness of speed work should controlled by doing tests lasting not be longer than 20 seconds.
1999 Sport is Life