Breaking the Speed Barrier


In training for speed you will mainly use the repetitive method, and for beginners offer exercises mainly with less than the highest intensity. An athlete who performs more repetitions of competitive exercises in their strict form and at maximal speed rather than at somewhat reduced speed will develop a quick stabilization of speed – the formation of a ‘speed barrier’.

-From Drabik’s Children & Sports Training

Interesting. The secret to running fast is not running at full speed? Like the secret underground research of the 1964 Olympics that Dr. Squat researched, we have more sport training myths being spewed out and causing harm to developing athletes. Drabik’s statement does sound good on paper as it is well worded but is it thought out? My look to athletic development is history based as I never found a program that let their kids just run fast in games caused kids to fail to improve. Kids from ages 6-18 will compete and play at full effort in games and activities. What kids got great by not sprinting at full speed? Most athletes need to reset their speed clock by doing absolute work without balls and implements as often the team sport acts as a governor due to the nature of the sporting activities.

It is likely that a speed barrier happens when one is fatigued or not improving at the rate that people want (be faster yesterday type mentality). Often speed stereotypes occur when one does not create a well rounded program and places too much effort on one element of speed. Usually improvement comes from not beating the dead horse but working on ways to support the effort. For example one athlete of mine had poor starting speed but his mechanics were good. After general weight room work and being patient we were able to harness his speed because we didn’t do that much more starts as he would have fatigued, thus causing a speed barrier (read growth) by overtraining. Kids are sponges and good coaching will only add development. If one is testing a kids 10m burst Monday through Friday it’s likely they will not improve, but it’s not from doing speed is overtraining or failing to improve all qualities. The speed greed is similar to the max bench press obsession or quests to PR every day, it is often a lesson in planning and patience.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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