Game Speed Tips


Here are a few somewhat random thoughts on speed and speed development for game sports – sports that require change of direction and frequent stops and starts as opposed to pure sprint speed as required by a sprinter in track. Some of the concepts obvously overlap.

To be fast you must train fast!

Base your speed development training on the speed demands of the sport that you are preparing for.

Always prepare for each speed training session with a thorough active warm-up.

Speed development must be done in a non-fatigued state; therefore it should occur at the start of the workout and after an easy workday or a rest day. Technique under fatigue (TUF) comes latter after good motor patterns have been established.

Always stress correct mechanics and relate the mechanics to the specific movements of sport you preparing for.

Optimum Speed is the goal – Speed that you can use and control in the game.

Never lose sight of the moment of truth. When you least expect it and are most fatigued speed will be the deciding factor in ability to make the play.

Speed is a motor task – You can learn to be faster through correct mechanics and situational awareness.

Starting is extending ankle/knee/hip. Stopping is bending ankle/ knee/hip. Without the ability to stop effectively it is difficult to be skillful and stay injury free

Reaction can be improved by working on the primary stimulus that is either the ball or another player.

Assistance training methods (Towing) develops specific strength to improve stride frequency.

Resistance training methods (Harness, hills sprits, tire pull) develop specific strength and acceleration.

Speed work demands a high level of motivation and concentration.

6 – 8 are the optimum number of reps for speed development work for any one exercise with adequate recovery between efforts to insure quality.

Adequate strength and sound basic technique are prerequisites for speed development.

Vary speed training methods and intensity to avoid building a speed barrier.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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