I want to thank all of the athletes who participated in our Speed & Agility Program this winter. Each Monday evening at 5:15 pm for a 10-week period, we had approximately 30 athletes ages 10-18 that dedicated themselves to getting faster and stronger to become better athletes. I appreciate the effort they put in and I also appreciate the dedication it took for parents to sacrifice time to make this happen for their children. Thank you Kellie, Kerry and TJ for helping coach our athletes each week. I could not have done this without you. Thanks for being part of these kids’ growth and development.
Speed and agility is a bit different because it takes a different type of motivation. The kids are not running after a ball or playing soccer games; they are training for the mere sake of making themselves better athletes. Each training session began with a warm up that incorporates movements that are essential for any athlete; movements that increase our flexibility, prevent injury and improve coordination. Athletic movement is the base by which all other components of fitness derive. We lunge, we skip high and low, we crawl, we side step, we shuffle, we backpedal, we sprint forward, we twist, we turn; all movements that are done in a soccer game. Our warm ups were consistent each session so we could master the techniques necessary to be quick and agile.
Following our warm-ups, we did circuits that consisted of groups of 6-8 kids. We had 7-8 stations where we did different activities involving other important components of speed and agility. We did an activity for 2 minutes then ran around the entire field (as an active rest). Each time a participant took a turn at their station the focus was on doing an activity hard and as fast as possible and when they were at rest they were to take a good, slow, rest. Speed and agility improvements happen when we push ourselves to be as fast as possible for a very short period of time.
Our activities included core strengthening exercises, agility exercises, plyometric or jumping exercises to increase power, full out sprint activities to work on outright speed. We worked on speed ladders for agility and coordination. We worked on activities that increased reaction time. We played tag games to work on agility, we used bands for resistance training to work on power and acceleration. We used hurdles to improve running technique and limit contact time with the ground. We really got a lot done in each session and each session ended with a stretch of more abdominal strengthening work.
My hope is that we offered a program in which we challenge our athletes to do their best work at all times, have fun, and explore different areas of fitness that will enhance each participant’s performance. Thank you again for the dedication you all have given to getting better. You are so appreciated! Hope to see you all around the soccer field and beyond.
Coach Dianne Strawser, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist