Youth Speed Training Drills
Introducing form, technique, and muscle memory drills early ensures the development of good habits. Focus on stride length, stride frequency, and footwork fundamentals with resisted running and speed ladders. These drills can be introduced when the athlete is of grade-school age, about six to eight years old. For weighted, resistance running, add loads not exceeding 10% of the athlete’s body weight.
Arm Action Drills
Acceleration Drills (moving quickly from a still position; starting and stopping)
Resisted Running (parachute, weighted sled)
Lower-extremity strength and power are foundational components of speed development. Linear speed, agility and vertical jumping are based on the amount of force an athlete can generate against the ground. Since these exercises are higher-intensity/impact, volume should remain low for younger children. Athletes can safely begin performing them as pre-teens, about 10 to 12 years old.
Power (high) Skipping
Power (long) Skipping
Split Squat (alternating lunge) Jumps
Standing Long Jumps/Bounding
Keep It Simple
Youth speed drills should be easy to instruct, demonstrate, and perform. Don’t stay on any one exercise or drill for too long. Keep it fresh to maintain engagement and involvement.
Make it Fun
Remember, they’re just kids. Be generous with recognition and encouragement. Kids like competition, so make a game or contest of some of the drills, but keep it friendly.
Have you done this? What can you add to this tip?
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