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Integrated Speed, Agility & Quickness Training

Beginner and Intermediate Theory and Drills for Improving Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ)

Speed - (straight ahead speed) - is the ability to move through the required range of motion in the fastest possible time. Speed is one of the most indicative biomotor skills that define success in all sports.  Speed has several components, which inlude both starting speed, and acceleration


What is the difference between Starting Speed and Acceleration?

Starting speed- ability to overcome inertia and get your center of mass moving.

Acceleration- rate of change of velocity, allowing maximum velocity in minimum amount of time. A combination of stride rate and stride length.




 Increasing Speed by Impacting Stride

 Stride rate- is the number of strides taken in a given amount of time/distance.

 Stride length- distance covered in one stride. (2.1-2.5 x leg length)

  1. Maximum Velocity- top speed. Usually reached in 4-5 seconds.
  2. Speed Endurance- ability to maintain maximum velocity (or a percentage of) for a prolonged period of time. Improving cardiovascular efficiency for high speed, explosive sports should minimize long distance slow training for speed or explosive interval training.



Agility and Quickness

 Agility - (lateral speed) - ability to decelerate, stabilize, accelerate and change direction without loss of proper posture, speed, strength, balance or body control. Athlete is constantly regaining their center of gravity over their constantly changing base of support in all directions (planes of motion) at varying speeds.

 Quickness - (reaction time) - ability to have maximum rate of force production in all planes of motion and in all body positions during functional movements. Involves ability to react to all stimuli (visual, auditory, kinesthetic feedback) without hesitation. Is pre-determined by the CNS but can be trained (train fast to be fast).



Components of Proper Sprint Mechanics

  1. Posture-optimum posture allows for optimum force application secondary to optimum length-tension relationships, force-couple relationships and arthrokinematics which will allow for reciprocal inhibition and synergistic dominance, leading to decreased force production.
  2. Arm Action- (refer to anterior oblique/posterior oblique sub-systems) significantly enhanced force production and force transmission. Elbow should be at 90 degrees on the forward swing and should open to 120 degrees on the backward swing.
  3. Leg Action- interdependent movement of foot/ankle complex, knee, and LPHC.



 Backside and Frontside Mechanics of Speed

  Backside mechanics- (during starting and acceleration) emphasis on triple extension on the back side of the body.

  • Ankle Plantar Flexion, Knee Extension, Hip Extension, Lumbar Spine Neutral.

 Front side mechanics- emphasis on triple flexion on front side of the body.

  • Ankle Dorsiflexion, Knee Flexion, Hip Flexion, Lumbar Spine Neutral.


Drills for Speed, Agility, and Quickness


   Straight-Ahead Speed Drills

  • Beginner- Pawing, Ankling, Straight-Leg Shuffle, Butt Kickers, Wall Slides, A's.
  • Intermediate- B's, Fast Leg, Low Hurdles, Hurdle Fast Leg.

   Lateral Speed & Agility Drills

  • Beginner- Wheel Drill, Extended Wheel Drill, Proprioceptive Jumps, Low Box Cross-Over.
  • Intermediate Drills­ - Side shuffle, Carioca, Tapioca, Back Pedal, Skipping, Bounding, T-Drill, M-Drill, LEFT Drill, 5-10-5 Drill.

  Quickness Drills (Ladder Work)

  • Beginner- 1-in's, 2-in's, In/In/Out/Out, Out/Out/In, Carioca, Tapioca, Backpedal, Shark Skill,  1,2,3,4, (DL/SL)
  • Intermediate- Ali Shuffle, Ali Cross Shuffle, Side In/in/Out/Out, Side Shuffle, Skier, Ice Skater, Backwards In/In/Out, Backwards Out/Out/In, Slide board.



Clark, M. & Russell, A. Optimum Performance Training for the Performance Enhancement Specialist (3rd Ed.) National Academy of Sports Medicine.

The Integrated Training Series

  1. Integrated Dynamic Fitness Training
  2. Integrated Flexibility Training
  3. Integrated Core Training
  4. Integrated Balance Training
  5. Integrated Plyometric Training
  6. Integrated Speed, Agility, Quickness Training
  7. Integrated Strength Training


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