First Step Quickness! Why strength matters

We know that speed kills. How many of you have heard “Be the first to the ball!” Well duh…if only it was that easy. As I outlined in my previous email, there are many factors that play into speed. Here are the key points that may hinder a young athlete’s speed due to lack of strength.

  1. Strength to keep forward lean in acceleration
  2. Strength to stop and start quickly
  3. Strength in low positions

Here are some exercises used to target each of these factors:

In order to hold a good forward lean position during acceleration, strong glutes and hip flexors are needed.

  • The hip flexors pull the knee into a 90-degree joint angle
  • The glutes then drive the leg down through the ground to propel forward movement

If these two groups are weak, the back rounds or they come up early from the forward lean. This will limit their first step quickness. Here are two exercises to increase glute and hip flexor strength:

Single leg glute bridge

 

Band Hip Flexion

The ability to start and stop quickly is important in all field and court sports. One of the main muscles responsible for this are the hamstrings: Here is a great exercise to increase hamstring strength in our youth athletes:

Sliding Hamstring Curls

 

Lastly, the ability to get low in order to change direction. You may have heard “Low man wins”, and that ability to get down with your chest up will lower your center of gravity making it easier to change direction.

The best exercise to mimic this movement to build strength is lateral lunges.

  • Improves glute and groin strength
  • Increase flexibility to get low

Strengthens core to keep chest upright.