If you have been following Parfournen for a while you will already know we are big fans of speed. It can be an asset for each and every rugby position. Evading and beating the opposition, carrying more momentum into contact etc. So how can you work on becoming faster over the white line? Here are three things you should implement in your training today (they are probably not what you are thinking).
1. Improve Your Technique
Sprinting is a skill. Similarly to any other skill, there are many moving parts that need to be worked on and mastered. You can break speed down to three different phases; acceleration, transition, top-end speed. But why should you focus on improving your technical proficiency?
Firstly, it improves your efficiency. With everything moving in the right place you are not leaking any unnecessary energy.
Secondly, you are utilising what your body has to offer to help you sprint, fast.
Additionally, an improved technique will reduce your risk of injury.
Focusing on your acceleration could be the best place to start. But what should you be looking for?
Below is an image from The Speed and Power Plan
- Punch the knee forward (smash the glass)
- Dorsiflexion of the foot
- Maintained forward lean
2. Sprint (Yeah we are not kidding)
If you want to be fast - you have to sprint. You cannot expect to do the work in the gym and have it immediately transition on to the pitch. Additionally, including sprints in your training will reduce the risk of injury (ever gone for a sprint in a match after doing nothing all week and felt your hammy go?).
To get fast, you have to run fast
With our programming we like to include our max effort sprints at the end of our sessions and link them with technical work. Here are some examples:
- Falling Starts: Fall forward, staying straight from your head to your heels. When you feel like you are going to fall flat on your face, accelerate!
- Flying Starts: Jog up to 10 metres then transition into a max effort acceleration. You can progress this drill by adding an external cue (reaction, defenders etc.)
- Partner Races: These will get you sprinting at max velocity! Nothing beats competition.
3. Increase Your Aerobic Capacity
You probably were not expecting this one. Aerobic capacity and speed are at two different ends of the spectrum. How does an improved aerobic capacity improve your speed during a game? Here is a snippet from The Little Book of Conditioning Drills;
The oxidative system – as it says on the tin. Using oxygen to fuel the breakdown of carbohydrate first and fatty acids second. This system, compared to the other two, is more suited to low intensity, long duration work. Additionally, the development of the aerobic system aids the anaerobic system through lactic acid removal and thus, lactate tolerance.
So what does that mean for you? In simple terms; the fitter you are, the quicker you can recover and perform further high intense activities (such as sprinting).
Hopefully this helps you on your quest to increased speed. Support this with a solid strength and conditioning plan and technical drills and you'll be on your way!