If you are a competitive athlete, regardless of your sport, two things are a given: you want to move correctly when performing, and you want to be fast. A coach can help you move efficiently, but only you can make yourself faster.
You may get a little quicker by training and competing frequently, but you'll get a lot faster by training specifically for speed. However, just like you can't lose fat from one part of your body because fat must be lost throughout the entire body, you can't get faster by doing just one thing. Speed must be gained by training for overall quickness. It must be a whole body thing.
There's a trick to getting faster. But it will take a lot of concentration – at first. To see how well this trick will work, try an experiment: using a stopwatch, time yourself walking just as you normally would from the far end of your living room to the far end of your bedroom. Write down how many seconds that little walk took. Then go back to your starting point. This time, turn on your stopwatch and walk as fast as you can, taking longer steps (do not run!). Now write down how many seconds it took to do the quicker walk. How many seconds did you save?
The next step is pushing yourself to move faster throughout your entire day in everything you do. When reaching into the fridge, do it faster. When pulling clothes out of your closet, do it faster. When getting dressed, put your clothing on faster. Add speed to everything you do. When it comes to general training, lift weights faster – though to avoid injury, lower the weight you would normally lift by 10 percent until your body adjusts to the new speed of your lifting. This usually takes about seven workouts. Go for 15-minute walks around your neighborhood while practicing walking faster.
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At first, it will be hard to remember to keep training for speed. You will find, over and over again, that you have dropped back into old habits and are moving as slowly as you ever did. But don't get discouraged and don't give up. You are starting a new way of doing everything. It will take time to learn to focus your mental attention on a change this big and to involve the increase of physical speed into your muscle memory. Keep at it, and you'll see that your speed is increasing significantly. Eventually, you won't even need to think about it. At that point, speed has become ingrained in your consciousness. In about a month, you'll begin to see the difference in your sports performance.
You'll notice the change in your ordinary, every day actions as well. When walking with friends, you will realize that you are the fastest walker in the group. Instead of slowing down for them, continue walking faster. It's good practice.
Becoming faster in everything you do is the secret to the kind of training that will make you a speedier and better athlete. If you've got the hunger to win burning inside you, do speed training four days a week. If you compete for the fun of it, do quickness training three days a week. Either way, you will be faster, and that will change your athletic life.
Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly , which offers the latest training, diet and athletic information.