How to Run Fast
In evaluating and teaching high-speed running mechanics, the coach must give the athletes key points on which to concentrate and consciously focus as they learn to re-program their motor patterns. It is useful to break down the
movement in a way that is consistent with a systematic teaching progression. We use six reference points or foci for developing the conceptual technical model, in the teaching progression employed, during video analysis to show faults and causes, and in making corrections. These six foci are:
1. Body Position – This is the most central focus for changes in the technical model and thus for improving performance. If the athlete cannot execute the correct body position with a high degree of skill, it is nearly impossible to optimize the other five foci. Conscious competence in this area must quickly give way to unconscious competence.
2. Recovery Mechanics – This is the first phase of the high-speed running cycle movement. Often thought of as a passive movement and traditionally called the “swing phase”, the mechanically efficient recovery of the limb sets up the other phases of the running stride for higher levels of mechanical efficiency.
3. Transition Phase – This is the phase of the running cycle where an abrupt change of direction of a limb must take place. Faults are often easily recognized in this phase, but they are almost always a product of a cause that is 180° on the other side of the stride cycle.
4. Ground Preparation Phase – This is the phase where the athlete must actively prepare the foot and the leg to strike the ground. From the point of view of determining the performance outcome, this is the second most important phase in the running cycle.
5. Ground Phase – This is the most important phase in the running cycle. Once the athlete leaves the ground, the flight path of the center of mass is unalterable until the next ground force application. Therefore, getting the Ground Phase right is essential.
6. Arm Action – This is the focus that has provoked some of the greatest disagreements between biomechanics and coaches. Biomechanics have contended that the arms balance the forces of the legs to support the body in the proper alignment. Coaches however have promoted that the arms “control the legs” and thus can positively impact performance.
At SPG we believe both are correct ! Schedule your evaluation to get Faster Stronger Better!
Eat for Excellence
Eating For EXCELLENCE
1) Avoid binging. People often binge because their body is nutrient deficient. This can be solved through:
a) Avoiding empty calorie foods. These are foods high in refined sugars and/or fat, and low in nutritional value. Foods like cookies, juice or soda pop, chips, snack foods, fast foods, baked goods, etc. Your body knows you haven’t given it anything it can nutritionally use so it demands you eat again. If you feed it nutrient deficient foods again it will get you to binge later in an attempt to get the vitamins and minerals it needs. This leads to stored fat as the body can’t convert the “empty” calories as efficiently to useable energy. Empty calorie foods also cause a strong insulin response which may lead to an energy crash 1-2 hours later. Not to mention contributing to heart disease, diabetes and chronic degenerative diseases of aging.
You say you don’t eat that much? Oh, you may be surprised! It is well hidden by food manufacturers. They know that we are addicted to sugar, so they hide it in our foods to make us want to buy more of their products, so they can make more $$$$$. Learn to read labels. Sugar is often disguised under the following names usually ending in -ose: glucose, dextrose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, fructose, corn syrup, trubidino.
b) Avoiding things that interfere with digestion, assimilation and ultimately cell deprivation of nutrients:
-Drinking excess liquids with your meals. Don’t. When you drink lots of liquid this dilutes….. Don’t drink icey cold liquids with food either. Cold shrinks the blood vessels in the stomach, reducing the stomach’s ability to produce the acid chemicals that you need to effectively digest food so your body can benefit from it to the fullest extent possible.
-Not chewing food enough. Chew food until it has the consistency of baby food.
-Taking antacids. This prevents stomach acid from breaking down protein into amino acids to be absorbed.
2) Drink a high quality whey protein drink as your first nutrition in the morning. This provides a quick source of amino acids as fuel to jump start your body’s metabolic processes.
3) Eat fruit 30 minutes later. Two pieces should be adequate. This speeds up your metabolism by giving your body some fuel after a 12 hour fast, (break-fast). In doing so, you will burn more calories and have more energy. Approximately 1 1/2 hours later eat some complex carbs with some protein like lean meats such as chicken, turkey or better yet, fish.
4) Eat live, colorful, high water content foods. Examples would be fruits and vegetables, those that are as fresh as possible. They were recently alive, (until picked). Most are very colorful and have a high water content. The longer fresh picked produce sits, the lower it’s nutrient, fiber and enzymatic value. Avoid processed, dead, bleached, dry non-foods. The first thing I cut out when I begin to diet is starches, especially refined ones, (breads, pastas, etc.).
5) Look at the fat content/serving of the foods you eat. Don’t eat any with >2g/ serving. The only exception would be with essential fatty acids like flax oil, cold water fish like salmon, cod, halibut, and nuts.
6) To get lean, lift weights. Increasing your muscle density will help you lose and keep weight off. Muscle burns more calories at rest, so having more muscle helps to keep you lean. Muscle also acts as a storage depot for calories that can be called on later for energy. If your muscles are small or flabby they can’t store as much energy, so guess where that energy (calories) are stored? Right, exactly where you don’t want it, on your hips or your waist line!
7) Never eat closer than three hours before bed. Eating before bed affects your body’s ability to rest and recover, as digestion requires an enormous amount of energy. Food also stimulates insulin release. Insulin is antagonistic to the release of growth hormone. Growth hormone is released when you reach deep sleep. If your insulin levels rise, it suppresses growth hormone release and prevents your body from stimulating growth, healing and repair
Get My Kid Faster!
My Kid Loves Sports, But Has No Speed: What Should I Do to Get my kid Faster?
Believe it or not, I am asked this question at least once per week. Being in the business of making people run fast, you would figure that it would be the only question I would hear. Thankfully, some of my clients are already pretty fast, they just want to get faster. However, I’ve spoken with a long list of parents, listening to sad stories about how their son or daughter feels left out because they are not fast enough to “make the team” in which their friends currently participate . Other kids tease them because they are slow on the field or court. The slow kid may be the hardest worker, the best decision maker or the best team player. But, they will never make it to the next level because they just don’t have the speed to compete. It is essentially an affliction of slow-twitch muscle fiber composition.
So what is a parent to do? Unfortunately, you can’t do anything to change the genetic make-up of your child (well, not quite yet at least). So, in the meantime, if you and your spouse were slow, it is a pretty good bet your offspring are trailing behind their friends. While good training may not make them into the team speedster, there are many things that can be done to improve your child’s speed abilities and maximize the genetic potential with which they were born. Provided below are a list of recommendations that will give your developing athlete a fighting chance when it comes to running speed.
1. Have them Run at their Fastest on a Regular Basis
Many parents wonder why their child isn’t getting any faster. They send their child off to soccer practice several times per week, and watch them play in games week after week, but don’t see significant differences in their speed over time. The simple truth is that children need to run at top speed on a regular basis. This does not happen at sport training sessions, where kids are inundated with drills and general conditioning. The drills are performed with a ball or other equipment and can impede the athletes from running at maximum effort and velocity. Conditioning and general fitness work typically emphasizes endurance aspects of training, and not speed related activities. Actual games such as soccer, basketball and football do not even involve maximum velocity efforts, as shown by studies. Hence, athletes do not experience the positive speed stress and adaptation required for faster running. Specific training sessions must be implemented to allow kids to run at or very near top speed, with appropriate recoveries between runs. My most common advice to parents is to have their kids “run fast to get faster.”
2. Provide Good Instruction on Sprinting Technique
Obviously, running fast is a necessity for improving your speed. If there is only one thing you do to make your kids faster, it should be to allow them to run fast. However, if you can provide your kids with simple, foundational techniques for sprinting, they will be much better off in the long run. Running fast and efficiently is a complex motor learning challenge for most people. At the highest level of competition, the Olympic 100m final, sprinting looks effortless. Turning on the right muscles and turning off the unwanted muscles at the highest velocity or movement is a skill that must be taught, refined and maintained by a skilled coach. Kids must be taught the proper limb movements, body posture and level of effort to maximize their speed potential. If they are simply instructed to “push hard” or “go as fast as you can,” they will most likely run into trouble at some point in their development and develop poor habits that will be very difficult to break later on in their athletic career. Seek out a qualified, proven sprint coach to help out your children. Watch the workouts determine if the coach is working on fundamentals. If they break out the speed ladders, parachutes, and other gimmicks, sprint as fast as you can in the opposite direction. A good coach will have some cones, a stopwatch and a proven plan for teaching the fundamentals of running fast.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Endurance Running
Many coaches associate good training with long bouts of aerobic exercise. If the kids are breathing hard, sweating and even on the verge of vomiting, they believe that they have appropriately improved their conditioning. These types of workouts, however, do nothing to improve the speed abilities of athletes. Not only are the wrong muscle fibers being worked, excessive endurance work will result in poor posture, inefficient biomechanics, and low motivation to continue training. Any chance for transitional muscle fibers to move into the fast-twitch category will be dashed by long-distance running workouts. And, even if your child wants to become a marathon, triathlon or Tour de France star, doing speed work at a younger age will only help develop speed qualities that will help them later on in their careers. Remember, the top marathoners in the world can run under five minutes per mile numerous times during a race. Over 99% of the adult population are not fast enough to run even one 5-minute mile. General conditioning is fine, but do not allow it to become excessive. Spend more time building skill and motor coordination with young athletes.
4. Introduce Basic Strength Training Protocols
Young athletes can improve their speed abilities by improving their overall strength. One of the big myths of athlete development is that lifting weights can be harmful to the health and development of young kids. While dropping a weight on your foot can be quite harmful, performing weightlifting exercises with low to moderate loads can be useful in developing general strength and improving movement mechanics. Some kids have problems initiating movement because they do not have the strength to move their own body weight quickly. This is exacerbated when kids go through a growth spurt and their limbs have lengthened, but muscular strength has not improved to handle the new lever lengths. Movements such as squatting and lunging, as well as Olympic weightlifting movements, can build strength and power for accelerating. Simple jumping movements can also improve power and start strength. Jumping up onto a box or running up stairs can be performed easily, without the heavy eccentric impacts that often occur with plyometric movements such as hurdle jumps or depth jumps. These types of activities can be introduced gradually and performed at low volumes one to two times per week.
5. Emphasize Relaxation, Ease of Effort and Patience
Running is a complex activity that requires good control and muscular relaxation to be performed effectively. When teaching young athletes proper running mechanics, the initial phase of training must include only sub-maximal efforts to ensure that optimal technique is maintained throughout the workout. Working at a perceived level of effort of 80-85% is optimal for mastering sprinting mechanics. Such effort may translate into 90-95% of top velocity, which is fast enough to effect a positive speed adaptation in the body. Sprinting is a “feel” sport, which means you need to get a feel for proper technique at higher velocities and work on maintaining this feeling. Young athletes that spend a good deal of time perfecting these qualities will benefit from this investment over the long run.
One of the most important reasons for parents and young athletes facing the question, “Am I destined to be slow all of my life?,” to continue to work on improving their speed is that all young athletes are developing at different rates. An athlete who is slow now may develop into an athlete with great speed abilities later in their career. This is why it is important for young athletes to try to stay in the game and not give up based on their current performance. One of the biggest problems in youth sports these days is that potentially good athletes are being cut from teams at very early ages. Early specialization is narrowing the potential pool of athletes for various sports. The longer we can keep athletes in the development pool, the greater chance we will have to find the best athletes for the elite level. Following the recommendations above can give an athlete a fighting chance to not only maintain their career, but perhaps vault them into a new level of performance. If we can prevent young athletes from getting discouraged by providing them with good training guidelines, we will go a long way to improving sports and maintaining larger participation rates in active lifestyles for our youth.
The Top 10 Speed Training Myths
Each day I receive questions about training speed. So we’ve taken those
questions that we hear the most and answered them in a slightly different
(1) Static stretching prepares you to compete/practice
Static stretching actually reduces power output. Athletes should prepare for
practice by doing a dynamic warm-up that moves from basic, low-intensity
movements to faster, more explosive movements as the muscles loosen up.
You want to simulate movements that athletes will go through in practice or a
game. What happens when you try and stretch a cold rubber band? In a way,
you can think about your muscles the same way.
(2) Strength training makes females too bulky
This is a popular mindset with many female athletes that we have worked
with. Simply look at some elite female athletes like Mia Hamm, Lisa Leslie,
etc. These athletes certainly train with weights and no one would accuse them
of having manly physiques. Strength training will improve performance and
reduce injury if done correctly.
(3) You can’t train speed
For some reason, it is a popular belief that you are born with a certain amount
of ‘speed’ and you can’t improve it. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Most young athletes are so physically weak and mechanically out of tune that
significant improvements in speed can be made often just by working on
technique and form. Athletes at any age and any level can improve speed
when implementing a complete speed training program designed to improve
and develop the entire athlete.
(4) Training slow makes you fast
I don’t think coaches directly think this way, but their training implies
otherwise. This is especially true in sports that involve a higher aerobic
element such as soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. I see kids out running
mileage and doing long slow intervals of several minutes of continuous
running. And this will get them in shape. But in games, I see kids jogging,
jogging and then sprinting at full speed for 20-30 yards, run, jog, sprint for 20-
30 yards. If you want kids to improve their acceleration and top speed so they
can get to the ball faster or get back on defense, then you have to train by
running at full speed in practice.
(5) You can train hard every day
The workout itself is only a piece of the training puzzle. It is the time between
intense workouts, the recovery, where athletes make their improvements.
Generally, it takes 36-48 hours to recover from high-intensity training. When
athletes are doing too much, too often they become over trained.
Leading to an increase in injuries, decreased performance,higher levels of fatigue earlier in games and
Frequent complaints of soreness It’s always better to under train an athlete than over train.
Err on the side of caution to get maximal results.
(6) Strength training will stunt a young athlete’s growth
This is another myth held over from a different time. On a daily basis, kids as
young as 7 years old are playing organized sports year round, tackling,
getting tackled, sliding, falling etc. These loads on the body can have a much
greater physical impact than a well-designed strength training program.
Though we don’t usually begin training with weights with pre-pubescent
athletes, they can benefit from body weight exercises such as push-ups,
lunges, sit-ups, etc. This will increase muscular efficiency, speed up recovery,
improve coordination and overall speed.
(7) The harder the workout, the better the result
Some athletes (and coaches) have this mentality that if a workout doesn’t
reduce them to complete exhaustion and/or make them vomit, that it wasn’t
an effective workout. I can tell you that those who have this mentality probably
see a lot of injuries and frustrating performances. The purpose of a workout is
to stimulate an adaptation by the body. If the body is forced to do too much
work in a given time period, it will break down. The skill in coaching is to
stimulate the adaptation in the body, without reaching a point of diminishing
(8) Interval training is the same as speed training
Running repeat 100s, 200s, etc will not improve top speeds. Even running
repeat 40s with short recovery will not improve acceleration and top speeds.
Speed work is defined at 2-8 seconds of maximal intensity running with full
recovery. That means at least 2 minutes of light dynamic movement between
each effort. This goes against the experience of some coaches, but simply
put, is the only way to improve speed. An athlete must be able to focus on
proper form and maintain intensity in order to get faster. If they do not recover
properly from each interval, they will not be able to replicate proper mechanics
with consistency and they can not improve.
(9) Flexibility won’t help you get faster
Both coaches and athletes spend so much time on the skills of their sport,
speed training and conditioning that they often forget a fundamental
component of success: flexibility. After practice or a game, the muscles are
warm and loose. Now is the time to work on increasing flexibility. So many
athletes suffer injuries or compete below their capacity because poor flexibility
inhibits their range of motion and speed. We see this often in the hips and hip
flexors where athletes’ stride length appears conspicuously short. Most often
we see this in male athletes who will lift weights, train hard and then skip out
on their cool down and flexibility work.
(10) Lift your knees
I hear so many parents and coaches yelling at their kids when they want them
to run faster or when they are beginning to fatigue, “Lift your knees, Get your
knees up”. This is one of the most backward cues we can give to athletes.
The way to run faster is to apply more force to the ground. Every action has
an equal and opposite reaction, so the more force you apply to the ground,
the more the ground will give back. So when we cue athletes to lift their knees
we’re doing two things incorrectly. One, we’re telling them to use their hip
flexors to lift instead of their glutes and hamstrings to drive down. Just think
about the size of your hip flexor versus the size of the glutes and hamstrings.
Now which muscles do you think can create more force and therefore more
speed? Second, we’re cueing them to do learn a movement that is in
opposition to what generates speed. If an athlete learns at age 7, to lift their
knees when they need a burst of speed, that improper cue will be hardwired
into their brain. To unlearn that as a teen and try to do the opposite and drive
down, that athlete will have a difficult time coordinating an entirely new way of
running and will potentially have to take a step or two backwards. That’s why
it is critical to learn proper form early and get an advantage over those who
still aren’t getting the best instruction. So cue athletes to step over the
opposite knee and drive the foot down into the ground, with the foot landing
underneath the hip.
The Sports Performance group is designed for the athletes who want the complete training experience (speed-strength and skills training, nutrition, mental skills) and starts with athletes from ages 8 yrs and up. To be at the top of your sport you need to have a complete training program that has your body and mind operating at their highest possible level of performance .
The Sports Performance Group
40 Maple Avenue. Rockville Centre, NY 11570
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2016 Athlete Honor Roll
Every year, we recognize an individual sport athlete and team sports athlete whose performances over a 12-month time span have been exceptional.We continue to build on the past with the enthusiasm and efforts of our current athletes. Our 2016 Athlete Honor roll is an SPG Alumni favorite.As we look to the future, our vision includes improvements and enhancement of our facilities, our programs, and the experiences of our athletes.
Here are the 2016 Athlete Honor Roll
- Crystal Dunn-Soccer
Washington Spirit forward Crystal Dunn was voted the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Player of the Year.In September 2015, Dunn was added to the roster for the national team’s Women’s World Cup victory tour prior to September 17 match against Haiti, becoming the first player not on the World Cup roster to join the tour.Dunn made her first start of 2015 against Haiti and earned her first cap since the England friendly. She recorded her first career national team assists, both on Carli Lloyd’s goals, and scored her first national team goal in the final moments of the match.Dunn played her first Olympic qualifying match in the national team’s opening game of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship. She scored her fifth international goal in the 5-0 victory over Costa Rica
- Robby Meehan US National Snowboarding Championships finalist
- Keri Cavallo-NYS girls soccer player of the year ,U 18National Pool,1st team All state Committed to Yale,Gatorade State Player of the year
- Joyce Kwok-… Swimming- 10 All American Titles Now at CW Post
- Shannon Horgan – Soccer – Selected to the U.S. U-20 National Team.
- Christina Klaum- She was named second team all Big East. Lead her team to the Big East title for the first time in ten years. Selected To U.S. U-19 National Team Training Camp, one of 24 players to be selected for the camp held in Carson, Calif.
- Scott Albarella-2nd @USA National Karate Championships,member of the USA National Team
- Noah Rubin–Wimbledon Junior Champion 2014. #1 19 year old in the USA.
- Emma Gallagher -State runner up at 600 meters ,# 2 in the US at 600 meters and 400 meter hurdles and 4×400, Top 10 in the USA in 5 events 11 time All American
- Kieran McCarthy -Nassau County Champion in the 800 and The mile
Scientific research has concluded that it takes eight-to-twelve years of training for a talented player/athlete to reach elite levels. This is often called the ten-year or 10,000 hour rule, which translates to slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years Unfortunately, parents and coaches in many sports still approach training with an attitude best characterized as “peaking by Friday,” where a short-term approach is taken to training and performance with an over-emphasis on immediate results. A long-term commitment to practice and training is required to produce elite players/athletes in all sports. The athletes listed were not only committed to excelling this year but have shown an unending ability to work toward excellence.
Revolutionary Trazer sytem now at SPG
Balancing a training program is like a great recipe. Only the perfect amount of each ingredient added at exactly the right time will work. Most trainers add all their favorite ingredients in random amounts and hope it tastes good. It never does.But,with the Revolutionary Trazer system now at SPG we can do amazing things
We believe Sport Specific Training is about staying motivated, getting the results you want and the results you need, faster than you thought possible. We understand that every client is an individual, therefore we personalize all our programmes to achieve your objectives. Your goals, no matter how big or small, are important to us.
We know that Sports Specific Training shouldn’t be just about having someone with you in the gym, but rather about having someone guide you through your entire goal of development. This includes your training inside and outside of the gym, your diet, your lifestyle and all support services to ensure you are in full health.
Sports Specific Training integrates a wide range of training disciplines and methods, ensuring your interest is high and your body is always challenged in a variety of ways. Following your initial consultation and movement assessments, your Coach will develop your personalized training plan. Designed to be progressive and challenging, the plan will take you through all facets of fitness development, making sure that you are not just leaner, but also stronger, more flexible, stable and agile.
Through diligent planning and implementation, we aim to make you feel better than you ever believed you could.
Program Options Include:
* One on One Training ~ $95/session
* Semi Private Training (for teammates) ~ $130/session
Shannon Horgan Named to U-20 Roster for Womens World Cup Qualifying
Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)
DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)
The 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the tournament semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
RVC Track Club
Head Coach, Jude Massillon, has 15 years as a professional Track and Field coach with National Champions from 16 different countries, under his belt. This year, he will be attending his fifth Olympics, in a row, with his athletes.
Non-Competing Athletes: $80/ month
(starts April 9th – Mondays at 4:00-5:00pm)
Athletes will receive a solid introduction to the sport including instruction
on running technique, speed and agility training, and weekly track workouts.
Athletes will also receive an SPG T shirt.
Competing Athletes: $120/month
Team race singlet and shorts are included in the membership.
(starts April 9th – Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:00-5:00pm)
In addition to the training described above, competing athletes will receive
an additional hour of instruction each week in their specific events. This
program also includes USATF membership.
(Meet fees, uniform, and warm up suits not included.)