Tuesday, May 31, 2016

4 Secrets to Faster Sprinting

If you’re on offense in American Football, a sack is the last thing you want. It often means an ugly hit to the quarterback (and his ego) as well as a possible loss of yardage. Ironically, though, SAQ is actually the best way to avoid getting sacked.

SAQ stands, of course, for speed, agility, and quickness. Having been a swimmer for the better part of a decade, I didn’t know much about SAQ until I attended the National Personal Training Institute of Philadelphia, where we did weekly SAQ training.

Being an amputee, I was a little reluctant at first to partake. I wasn’t able to do all of the drills, and even the ones I did do, I knew I looked funny doing them. Fortunately, I eventually overcame my fear of failure and embarrassment and just went for it. As it turned out, I was the best in the class at the single-leg locomotion drills!

Fast forward to 2016 and my recently completed internship at Endeavor Sports Performance, where I coached kids in SAQ every single day. Our warm-up was chock-full of locomotion drills like butt kickers, high knee skips, side shuffles, carioca, back pedaling, and sprints.

4 Cues for Arm Drive

Even more important than learning how to execute these drills myself, I had to learn to teach them to young athletes. As anyone who’s worked with children before knows, different children learn in different ways. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are tactile learners. Therefore, I had to refine a variety of coaching skills in order to get the athletes to perform the way I wanted.

For example, at the start of a sprint we want to encourage athletes to drive their arms aggressively, including sending the arm opposite the lead leg straight back to catapult out of the starting block.

Here are four different cueing strategies we can use to elicit the desired upper body mechanics:

1. Internal cue

Cue: “Extend your shoulder behind you on the start.”

Rationale: Some athletes perform best when they think about exactly what they need to do with their limbs.

2. External cue

Cue: “Imagine throwing your pinky straight back behind you on the start.”

Rationale: Some athletes perform best when they direct their attention outside their body.

3. Tactile cue

Cue: “Take this towel and throw it straight back behind you on the start.”

Rationale: Some athletes perform best when they’re able to feel what you want them to do.

4. Visual cue

Cue: “Watch me show you what I want you to do with your arm, then watch what you’re doing.”

Rationale: Some athletes perform best when they can actually see what they’re doing. Take the time to film them and play it back to them in slow motion. Sometimes this is the only way to get a difficult technique to click with an athlete.

As you can see from the list above, even for something as seemingly simple as arm drive at the start of a sprint, there are a quite a few ways to skin the cat. For this reason, I was thrilled when my friend (and former U.S. National Rugby player) Jen Sinkler sent me an advance copy of her brand new SAQ product, Lightning & Thunder, which she teamed up with renowned coaches Tim Moyer and Angie Brambley-Moyer for.

Kate and I love Jen’s Lift Weights Faster series. (Kate actually did a LWF workout this morning!) Jen’s attention to detail is always first-rate, and L&T is no different.

I first met Jen at a Philadelphia area fitness meet-up last year. She is a hoot -- not to mention an exceptionally strong human being. Her squat warm-up is my max!

I’m even more excited today to report that Lightning & Thunder is finally here. The Lightning & Thunder package includes
  • 12-week beginner and intermediate strength and SAQ programs
  • a 50-page user manual
  • a complete exercise glossary, including barbell, bodyweight, dumbbell exercises, and more
  • plus TWENTY more in-depth coaching videos

L&T is on sale now through this Friday (June 3rd) only. Don’t miss out! (The price is going to go way up after that.)

It's the 4th quarter, and you have the ball. Avoid the sack by improving your SAQ with this great product now.

Disclaimer: the above links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a commission on purchases made through the links. I would absolutely never endorse anyone’s product unless I truly believed it was great. L&T has my blessings 110%!

Share This