MODULE 3.2: Maximum Velocity
Why is maximum velocity important?
Maximum velocity is a much more sport specific quality that is essential in some sports, but less useful in others. Generally athletes require at least 20-30m to get up to 90%+ of their maximum velocity (younger + slower athletes need less, faster + older athletes need more), hence sports that are played in courts of size 30m or less won't typically allow maximum velocity sprinting to occur. Hence during sports like basketball, netball, volleyball, and tennis, it is nearly impossible to reach maximum velocity sprinting. In field based sports like football, soccer, and rugby though, maximum velocity often separates sub-elite from elite athletes, and is a hugely influential on match result. Additionally, maximum velocity is extremely challenging to train and improve, hence possessing elite maximum velocity will separate an athlete from the rest of their teammates.
What physical characteristics are required for elite maximum velocity?
During maximum velocity sprinting, a single ground contact can last 100-120ms, whilst flight time after the ground contact can last 100-150ms. Hence to maintain/increase speed, force needs to be applied to the ground extremely rapidly. Additionally, at high speeds the ability to produce a high stride frequency is essential to ensuring you can get as many short and sharp 100ms ground contacts as possible. Because of the increased importance of stride frequency during maximum velocity sprinting compared to acceleration ,the muscles responsible for swing leg speed (hip flexors and hamstrings) are significantly more important for maximum velocity performance.
What are the technical KPI's of maximum velocity?
Big arm/thigh separation
Aggressive/rapid ground contacts
Stiff lower limb during ground contact
How can maximum velocity be trained?
Realistically the only way to sprint fast is to sprint fast
Sprint efforts >20-30m
Limb switching drills
Rapid plyometrics with 80-150ms ground contact times
How can we address technical errors?
Beyond the scope of this module!