The sad part of speed is that so many people train it out of their athletes. Especially with the endurance athletes, but I even see with speed and power athletes. It is about quality not quantity. Start with warm-up, some of these elaborate hour and fifteen minute warm-ups that include every drill under the sun are just getting the athlete tired not ready for explosive effort. Speed is about quality and economy of effort. I quote my good friend and colleague Gary Winckler, “work capacity is not a biomotor quality.” Speed is a quality that must be trained year around regardless of the event or sport discipline. The high neural and coordinative demands require that those pathways stay open and stimulated. Everyone has potential for speed but many do not reach it because of improper training or the fact we buy into myths that it cannot be improved.
Speaking of speed today is cool Papa Bells birthday. He was a star in the Negro leagues and one of the fastest players to ever play the game of baseball. Sam Harriston, who was a coach with the White Sox when I worked there had played with Papa Bell and he told this story to illustrate how fast he was. He was rooming with Papa Bell and they were both in their beds with the lights on in their room. Papa Bell got up to turn the lights off and was back in his bed before the lights went off. (I know this story is attributed to Muhammad Ali, but it was really Papa Bell) That is speed! Try that every night as a drill and you will get faster.