Speed in sports is all about the ability to accelerate as quickly as possible. The first few steps an athlete takes often dictate whether he or she can make the play. Unfortunately, common acceleration mistakes can hurt athletes on the field.
Building speed is as much about rooting out errors (or even more so) than building the “perfect technique.” Everyone has a slightly different technique, one that is optimal to them depending on their anatomy. But that doesn’t mean that athletes should run any way they want.
There are some crucial errors that many athletes make when accelerating. When these are fixed, those athletes can get down the field or court much faster. The three errors are:
- Improper foot placement at touchdown
- Poor posture
- Foot recovery is too high
Before we get too far into these errors, let’s look at how some athletes do it well. Here is a slow motion block start where you can clearly see the styles of Asafa Powell and Andre DeGrasse in lanes 8 and 9, respectively.
Granted, this is acceleration from the blocks, and athletes playing sport don’t have blocks to drive out of, which makes it a bit more challenging. But the same concepts and form still apply.