GREAT question! The reason I say you’ve posted a great question is because there is not nearly enough quality or real-world information regarding how to develop sprinting speed in athletes from multiple sports!
I am definitely a “disciple” of most of Charlie Francis’ methods regarding speed development; I highly recommend trying to get your hands on The Charlie Francis Training System or Training for Speed by Charlie Francis. They are the first two books I ever read on speed — and they are the best two books I’ve read on the topic. The problem is that I believe they are out of print and difficult to find.
Can’t say I agree with the shorts, but his thoughts on speed development are a totally different story!
The only other book that sticks out in my head is Explosive Running: Using the Science of Kinesiology to Improve Your Performance by Michael Yessis. But even if you have read any of the above three books, the “problem” still remains that they are books. When it comes to developing speed, I much prefer video so you can actually see athletes running at higher speeds, etc. The other “problem” with much of the speed training information out there is that it’s mostly geared towards high-level sprinters. Even most of Charlie’s publicized work referred to what he did with Ben Johnson, aka, the fastest man in the world at the time! What percentage of coaches/trainers are working solely with the fastest sprinter in the world? The answer is pretty damn close to 0%!
For example, we’ve all heard the “golden rule” that athletes should NEVER perform resisted sprints with weight greater than 10%-20% of their bodyweight because it will alter their technique. Most coaches just blindly follow this “rule” without ever questioning it…and it drives me nuts! This rule originated from the training of high-level, Olympic sprinters. I don’t necessarily disagree with this rule for Olympic sprinters. But, how about wrestlers/MMA fighters? They need speed, but do they need perfect “running form”? The answer is, “Hell no”. Why can’t a wrestler/MMA fighter perform “heavy” 5-10 yard sprints with a weight sled or vest? Who gives a shit if their form isn’t perfect?! How about tennis players? They are stopping, starting, jumping, changing direction and sprinting with a friggin’ racket in their hand; do they need to be concerned if their form is slightly altered when they’re training for “tennis speed”? And how should coaches/trainers develop speed in average, teenage high school kids? Should different methods be used when training high-schoolers, as opposed to NFL players? Should you focus on strength, flexibility, running technique drills, or plyometrics?
I can obviously go on and on ranting on many aspects of this topic, but I guess I’ll stop here. The reason I’m so fired up about this question is that I think you just gave me the kick in the ass that I needed to be the coach to put out a quality Speed Development DVD! Maybe “Super Speed” to compliment our #1 Best-Seller – Super Strength? We have just about every class of athlete scheduled to come through our doors this summer, so the timing just may be perfect to get a video camera in our gym and capture how we develop speed for all athletes, not just Olympic sprinters!
BUT, I NEED YOUR HELP! DO ME A FAVOR AND DROP ME A QUICK COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE, LEARN, ETC., IN A SPEED TRAINING DVD!
Sorry I couldn’t be of more immediate help regarding your question, but it looks like help may be on the way:) In the meantime, since you said you enjoyed our last video; here are some video highlights (along with a template) from one of yesterday’s Dynamic-Effort Lower Body sessions. Enjoy…
Friday the 13th: Dynamic-Effort LB Training (Football skill guys)
1. Kneeling Jumps to Chest pass: 25lb. med ball x 6 throws
2. Kneeling Jumps to Overhead Toss: 25lb. med ball x 6 throws
3. Resisted 15yd. Sled Sprints: 90lbs. x 8
4. Jump-back Acceleration Sprints: 6 x 10yds.
5. Band Goodmornings: 3×12
6. Banded Janda Sit-ups: 3×15-20
Hope you enjoyed the video…and don’t forget to drop a comment below with your suggestions regarding my potential Speed Training DVD!