By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Will Sullivan is the owner of Sullivan PROformance Speed and Agility, based out of Phoenix, Ariz. He has trained over 40 collegiate All-Americans and numerous Pro Bowl participants. He offers six tips on speed training.
Stay off the track. Football is not a game played in straight lines, so Sullivan conducts most of his speed training on the field. Only on Day 1 when he is teaching a player to run with proper mechanics does Sullivan work on linear speed.
Correct posture. “Most athletes don’t know how to create body lean through their ankles,” Sullivan said. “They try to do it through their hips. It creates inefficient moment. When your foot hits the ground, you want all of your energy moving in the right place.”
Focus on synchronization. The key to improving speed is being able to coordinate the entire body with efficient movement. Sullivan does not recommend drilling players on proper upper-body form without incorporating the entire system. “If you’re not working the entire cycle – and you’re not synched – then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Perfect foot strike. When a player’s foot strikes the ground, the knee on the plant foot should be in front of the other. The surface area of the entire foot should be on the ground under the hips. The foot’s optimal surface area should push off and drive into flight space.
Agility work. Sullivan does not recommend using ladders; rather, he wants players to practice running as they will in a game. “We teach kids how to cut, break down and reverse-pivot,” Sullivan said.
Quick feet. Having quick feet in a game is dependent on a player’s ability to react quickly and find balance. “We get athletes competing and moving without cones,” Sullivan said.
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