Speed can be defined as the ability to move the body in one intended direction as fast as possible.  Therefore, speed training is a type of exercise training designed around improving the ability to move the body in one direction as fast as possible.  Usually combined with other types of training, speed training can include sprinting drills and others which involve trying to move from one point to another and in one direction as quickly as possible. 

Training for Speed and Power

Speed/power are the sexy sisters of the strength and conditioning programme. Every hockey player who doesn't spend muchtime in the game wants to be quick enough to beat players. Additionally, they need to be agile enough to step round players and powerful enough to run players off their feet.

Power is also the most important physical attribute for players. A recent "RUGBY" study showed that the single biggest determining factor separating professionals and semi-professionals was power.

To best develop speed and power qualities we need to train a multitude of different physical qualities. Therefore, this requires using different training methods.  Without getting bogged down in the theory behind training for speed and power I would like to introduce you to a graph. It shows you pretty much everything you need to know about strength, power and speed training.

The Force Velocity Curve


The force velocity curve shows us that if we want to move something heavy or produce a lot of force, then we must move slowly. This is a necessity to allow us time to generate the forces required. Think of pulling a heavy sled or deadlifting a 1 rep max.

It also shows us that to move something quickly, or to move quickly, we can’t produce a lot of force because we don’t have enough time to generate it. Think of how little time you spend on the ground each time your foot hits the floor when sprinting.

Here comes the rub. To become faster or more powerful, we have to produce more force in that limited time window.  Thus, to produce more force in a limited time frame we can look to develop the following attributes:

  • Force capacity/output (get stronger).
  • Rate of force development / transition (get more powerful).
  • Force application (become better at producing force or applying force correctly in the desired context).

Now if we are to take away this thought and apply it to the same graph what do we come up with?



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