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Speed and Agility for Young Athletes

Corey AndersonThis blog was contributed by Corey Anderson, CSCS, the Sports Performance Coordinator at the Watkins Centre Clinic in Richmond.

Speed and agility training are often the first things parents and athletes think about when it comes to improving sports performance.  Below are answers to questions that I frequently receive many questions from parents and young athletes, ages 11 to 18 years old.

“Is my son/daughter old enough to do this and benefit from it?”

Rather than looking at chronological age, I look at an athlete’s level of maturity. An eight year old and an 11 year old, though three years apart, could have the same level of maturity. It is best to start a young athlete in a program when they have developed a level of concentration, focus, and understanding. At this stage in a young athlete’s development, they can obtain the most benefit from any type of sports performance program. Risk of accidents or injury also decrease if an athlete has developed the ability to focus and follow instructions during activities such as the ones included in a speed and agility program.

Is a speed and agility program beneficial?

Most mature and focused young athletes benefit from a structured and progressive speed and agility program. Programs are designed around an athlete’s training age. If an athlete comes in with zero years of training experience versus an athlete with three years of training experience, their programs will be designed differently.  Programs are designed to improve stability and balance, speed and quickness, and help to decrease potential risk of injuries.

What is included in a speed and agility training program?

Agility training will be a large part of the program because most sports require multidirectional movements. The training practices to improve agility use stability and balance techniques as well as some plyometrics or jump training. Stability will give the athlete more control over their body and give their structure rigidity. This is important when it comes to stopping and going and changing direction while maintaining speed. Speed improvements will quickly come by making an athlete more efficient, such as improving one’s run mechanics or removing any unnecessary movement.  Athletes also learn other techniques  to improve stride length and frequency, which together determine how fast an athlete is.  These exercises use assisted and resisted sprinting techniques as well as speed ladders and cone drills.

We offer speed and agility training programs at the following locations:

Our Hampton Roads Locations

**For all inquiries. please call 757-IMSPORT.