Methods of Developing Speed & Agility
Many skill-specific activities should be started slow so that proper mechanics can be learned. Once the proper mechanics begin to take hold, then an individual can increase speed to that, or exceeding that, of game speed.
Some mechanics we take for granted and may learn on our own throughout life, such as running or throwing a ball. Unfortunately, there may be flaws with the technique since some individuals may not have be given proper coaching on the specialized technique. In this case, proper technique can be introduced to the individual to help perfect form.
Secondary methods involve sprint resistance and sprint assistance:
Sprint Resistance - Also known as an overload effect, the idea is to use resistance in some form to improve explosive strength and stride length. Examples of resistance that can be applied in such a situation would be gravity (running up a grade like stairs or a slope) or such apparatus such as parachutes or weighted vests.
Sprint Assistance - By using assistance techniques such as running downhill or a high-speed towing apparatus, the aim is to maintain proper running form but increase stride frequency.
Tertiary methods are broken down into mobility, strength and speed-endurance categories:
Mobility - Athletic tasks require specific ranges of motion (ROM). If an individual does not use their full mobility at a certain joint or limb, they can impact performance or even increase their likelihood of injury. For example, someone who is running, if there is not enough mobility at the hip joint, there could too much braking effect caused by the foot strike on the ground. Proper stretching and flexibility should be used by all to maintain proper range of motion.
Strength - In order for individuals to improve their speed and agility, their resistance training program should include explosive, quick movements. This does not necessarily mean that only light weights with high velocity should be used. Resistance training that targets a wide range of muscular fiber types should be employed.
Speed-Endurance - To train for speed-endurance events, athletes must use a wide variety of training styles including short-duration intense training as well as long-duration, less-intense exercises.