Best Youth Speed Training Drill: Wall Sprints
There are many factors that contribute to speed and acceleration over short distances, including muscle strength in the hip flexors, back and shoulder alignment, and body conformation issues like the length of the legs. Some of these are outside of a runner’s control, but others can easily be developed and enhanced with a targeted training program.
Two specific factors that contribute to speed are 1.) power off the ground, and 2.) the length of the stride during the full run. Both of these can be enhanced through training, and both can and should be attacked during the early stages of an athlete’s development. The best youth speed training drill exercises are the drills that help inexperienced athletes build proper running habits from the ground up. By starting early and engaging in wall sprints that isolate upper body muscle groups and focus attention on the hips, quads, and lower body, young athletes can start building the tools they need for explosive starts and maximum ground coverage in each stride.
These exercises, called Wall Sprints or Acceleration Sprints, can help younger and inexperienced athletes build excellent strength, skills, and running technique from the start. Using only a sturdy wall and the targeted resistance of the Kbands, track teams and individual athletes can concentrate on balance and strength development in the upper legs, hips and core. After a few resisted reps, the Kbands can be removed and runners can take advantage of the temporary feeling of lightness and speed that occurs for a few minutes while the body readjusts. This kind of youth speed training drill can be incorporated into a regular running or speed training program three or four days a week for optimal results.
Wall Sprints: Setting Up the Drill
To complete this set of resisted acceleration sprints, teams will need a stable wall, running gear, and a set of Kbands for each participant. After a warm up session, the straps can be attached around the upper legs with the metal rings facing outward, and the resistance bands can be clipped to the straps with the long band in the front.
Athletes can line up along the wall and place their palms flat against the surface, and coaches can keep an eye on the entire team to make sure all backs are aligned and hands are at the proper height. Technique will contribute to the success of this drill, so all athletes will need close attention during each stride.
Wall Sprints: Executing the Drill
The hands should be placed high on the wall and the body should be leaning at a 45 degree angle as the drill begins. The back should be in a flat, balanced position, and the hands should be at a height that keeps the elbows close to the face and the cheeks. If the hands drop too low on the wall, this will encourage the chest to rise up, and the nature of the drill will change; this position will turn the acceleration sprints into a high-knee drill, which is not the focus of this exercise.
Athletes should keep in mind that the best youth speed training drill exercises emphasize power at the start. So instead of working on high knee drive alone, runners should also concentrate on balance and explosivity in the core. Knee drive is important, but it isn’t the exclusive focus of this drill.
If athletes concentrate on maintaining a 45 degree angle and a flat, secure hand position against the wall, the knees will able to drive up and into the sprint with full energy and explosivity. The leg muscles will be overloaded, and the feet will drive from the ground with the full force of a powerful sprint.
Wall Sprints: Details of the Drill
This drill will be broken down into fully explosive sets of twelve to fifteen seconds each. Athletes will attach the Kbands resistance bands, place the body at a 45 degree angle, and burst into top speed at the starting signal. Runners will stay fully engaged and explosive for the entire set before taking a short rest break.
As athletes execute this drill, both runners and coaches will concentrate on proper technique. All backs should stay straight and angled and should not roll over or hunch. The feet should fire as the knees lift, and should not rise up and kick at the rear end. If this happens, the drill becomes a standard knee drive drill, which, is not the goal of this exercise.
After four to six sets, athletes can unclip the Kbands and complete two more unresisted sets, making the most of the feeling of lightness that occurs after artificial resistance is removed. If runners are still feeling fresh and technique is remaining correct and strong, teams can add a few more unresisted Acceleration Sprints to the drill. As they complete the same moves without resistance, athletes can concentrate more on form and foot speed.
This is one of the best youth speed training drill exercises that teams can complete during a regular practice session. This drill works both indoors and outside, it supports athletes in every running-focused sport and it can help athletes generate fast results and greater speed on the field or court. This drill can be worked into the beginning of a training session just after a warm up period, or it can be added to the end. In either case, it takes only minutes to complete and can generate powerful results.
For more speed and acceleration drills, and for more information and purchasing details for the Kbands, athletes and coaches can explore the resources on Kbands Training. com. The site offers several different products that can enhance training programs for athletes at any level, including Speed and Agility Cones, Agility Ladders, and resistance equipment like the Kbands, KB Powerbands, and Kbands Reactive Stretch Cord. Kbands Training.com also offers a growing library of training tutorials and video resources that cover strength, endurance, and specific skill development for a wide range of sports.