3 tips to make your sprint training more efficient: The guide to improving COD abilities - part 2


While the first part of this series was mainly focussed on leg muscle qualities and how you can train them, we will now zoom in on sprinting - something you can easily do on the court with limited equipment. 

Want to learn more about the other factors determining COD, or Change of Direction? You can read the first part of the series here

Why linear sprinting speed is not correlated to agility

You read it right. According to scientific research, linear sprinting speed is not correlated to agility (Little & Williams, 2005). Does this mean your sprint exercises in the last years were completely useless? No. And yes. Linear sprints are not useless, but they are only a small part of what determines COD speed.  

Most sprint training is all about sprinting from point A to B. However, that’s not what happens in a game. And the logic behind it is actually quite simple. Think about a game - players almost never do a linear sprint at full speed and then just stop their action. They constantly change direction on short surfaces, based on what happens on the field (e.g. the movement of an opponent or the ball). 

Another reason why a linear sprint is not very effective, is that the body position a player will take during a typical sprint training (body leaning forward, ready to start the sprint) is also different compared to the body position he will have during a game. During the game, the player doesn’t know in which direction he will have to move and his body position might depend on his previous action (e.g. he might still be leaning in the direction he was running before).

3 tips to make your sprint training more efficient

Fortunately, there are a few easy to implement things you can do to make your sprint training more efficient and game-like. Nice bonus: your training will also be more fun! 

  1. Have your players sprint on a small surface with multiple changes of direction

The more they have to accelerate, slow down and change direction, the better. You could look at it this way: when an athlete does a sprint of 5 seconds, he trains his COD abilities just once per sprint. During an exercise where he has to change direction 5 times in 5 seconds, he trained his COD abilities 5 times. 

  1. Add tasks during a sprint

During a game, a sprint is usually followed by an action, such as passing the ball to a teammate or returning the ball over the net. In order to do this successfully, players also have to think during their sprint. So by adding tasks to the sprint, you teach them to analyze the situation and make a decision during their sprint. 

Adding tasks are simple: you can throw or pass a ball at the player while he’s executing the exercise, you can ask them to look at how many fingers you’re holding up, etc. 

  1. Add an external stimulus to trigger the movement of the player

This could be an instruction shouted by the trainer or a signal given by a tool with LED lights. This unexpected element will bring the sprint training closer to a game-like situation. Because if you think about it, players also always have to react to an external stimulus on the court. We will zoom in on this topic in part 3 of this series, so subscribe below if you want to stay updated. 

Some help to get started

To help you get started, we designed an exercise incorporating all three elements.

The players start at the left side while waiting to receive 2 colors (provided by the LED lights or shouted by the trainer). They then sprint toward the cones according to the received colors. After that, they sprint to the rectangle on the other side. In that rectangle, they have to repeat the same movement (in this case, first run around the blue cone, followed by the green cone). 

To add a task, a second player will  pass balls to the sprinter as soon as he approaches the second rectangle. The sprinter returns the ball to the other player. Aim for at least 2 passes during this exercise. 

Obviously, this exercise can also be done with a tennis ball, a basketball, handball, you name it. 

Want to receive more exercises like this? Sign up below!

Want to keep reading? Find part 3 here


3 tips to make your sprint training more efficient: The guide to improving COD abilities - part 2


While the first part of this series was mainly focussed on leg muscle qualities and how you can train them, we will now zoom in on sprinting - something you can easily do on the court with limited equipment. 

Want to learn more about the other factors determining COD, or Change of Direction? You can read the first part of the series here

Why linear sprinting speed is not correlated to agility

You read it right. According to scientific research, linear sprinting speed is not correlated to agility (Little & Williams, 2005). Does this mean your sprint exercises in the last years were completely useless? No. And yes. Linear sprints are not useless, but they are only a small part of what determines COD speed.  

Most sprint training is all about sprinting from point A to B. However, that’s not what happens in a game. And the logic behind it is actually quite simple. Think about a game - players almost never do a linear sprint at full speed and then just stop their action. They constantly change direction on short surfaces, based on what happens on the field (e.g. the movement of an opponent or the ball). 

Another reason why a linear sprint is not very effective, is that the body position a player will take during a typical sprint training (body leaning forward, ready to start the sprint) is also different compared to the body position he will have during a game. During the game, the player doesn’t know in which direction he will have to move and his body position might depend on his previous action (e.g. he might still be leaning in the direction he was running before).

3 tips to make your sprint training more efficient

Fortunately, there are a few easy to implement things you can do to make your sprint training more efficient and game-like. Nice bonus: your training will also be more fun! 

  1. Have your players sprint on a small surface with multiple changes of direction

The more they have to accelerate, slow down and change direction, the better. You could look at it this way: when an athlete does a sprint of 5 seconds, he trains his COD abilities just once per sprint. During an exercise where he has to change direction 5 times in 5 seconds, he trained his COD abilities 5 times. 

  1. Add tasks during a sprint

During a game, a sprint is usually followed by an action, such as passing the ball to a teammate or returning the ball over the net. In order to do this successfully, players also have to think during their sprint. So by adding tasks to the sprint, you teach them to analyze the situation and make a decision during their sprint. 

Adding tasks are simple: you can throw or pass a ball at the player while he’s executing the exercise, you can ask them to look at how many fingers you’re holding up, etc. 

  1. Add an external stimulus to trigger the movement of the player

This could be an instruction shouted by the trainer or a signal given by a tool with LED lights. This unexpected element will bring the sprint training closer to a game-like situation. Because if you think about it, players also always have to react to an external stimulus on the court. We will zoom in on this topic in part 3 of this series, so subscribe below if you want to stay updated. 

Some help to get started

To help you get started, we designed an exercise incorporating all three elements.

The players start at the left side while waiting to receive 2 colors (provided by the LED lights or shouted by the trainer). They then sprint toward the cones according to the received colors. After that, they sprint to the rectangle on the other side. In that rectangle, they have to repeat the same movement (in this case, first run around the blue cone, followed by the green cone). 

To add a task, a second player will  pass balls to the sprinter as soon as he approaches the second rectangle. The sprinter returns the ball to the other player. Aim for at least 2 passes during this exercise. 

Obviously, this exercise can also be done with a tennis ball, a basketball, handball, you name it. 

Want to receive more exercises like this? Sign up below!

Want to keep reading? Find part 3 here


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