Chasing Greatness

More Sports Speed Training Questions

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My 12 year old, soon to be 13, loves the sport of baseball
and the catcher position. Through the process of playing
too much catcher, extra stretching of the static nature
(which we have since learned was counter-productive), he has
acquired difficulties with his knees.

We were also running 2 miles twice a week and working on
sprints once per week, with various speed drills. My thought
is that his knees were too isolated and it created his knee
issue. We have started working with a physical therapist
that specializes in sports athletes.

Do you have any suggestions to fully heal and strengthen his
knees, while supporting healthy exercises to build speed?

– John B.


It’s always difficult to answer questions like this without
having more information, i.e. a diagnosis, video of him
running or having done a postural assessment. If you’re
working with a PT that specializes in athletes, I would
assume that he will perform a variety of tests that will
address the issues you speak of.

However, knee issues are a serious concern and must be
addressed as they occur. Often times finding a specialist
can be both difficult and expensive. When it comes to
personally strengthening and rehabbing knees, as well as
educating yourself on how to prevent knee injuries in general,
I strongly suggest the following resource from my colleague
Brian Schiff – ACL Injury Prevention

On another note, what benefit does an athlete, particularly
a catcher, get from running 2 miles twice per week? An
athlete with knee problems should probably avoid the long,
slow pounding that his knees are getting from workouts that
have no direct or positive impact on his athletic performance.
He would get much more out of shorter workouts such as tempo
runs (10 x 100m at 75% intensity) or bodyweight circuits.
Both of these types of workouts develop both aerobic and
work capacity and provide greater value than running long
slow distance, especially for an athlete with knee problems.

We cover this type of training in detail, as well as
countless healthy exercises to build speed, in the Complete
Speed Training Program

Remember, think about the demands of the sport you are
involved in and then look at the type of training you’re
doing. In baseball, when does an athlete run extended periods
of time at a slow pace?


I would like to know what type of workout I should do to
develop power to help create 45 degree lean during sprinting,
because there are no hillS where I live so I cant do hill
workouts. Thank You
– Jamie R.


Ultimately, the ability to create and maintain that 45
degree lean during acceleration comes down to one thing:

We use hill work early during the season to ‘cheat’ the
position by bringing the angle to the athlete as opposed to
having the athlete be forced to try to maintain the position.
Assuming that your posture, in particular your hips and
torso, are aligned properly, the 45 degree angle that we
talk about is the angle created by your shins in comparison
to the ground. Again, the ability to create effective shin
angles so that you don’t ‘pop up’ in your first few steps
is *primarily*, but not only, about strength levels. This is
why I don’t believe it is effective practice to put young
sprinters in starting blocks. They simply don’t have the
strength levels to make using blocks effective and are
learning bad habits that will take time to unlearn once they
do develop the required strength.

So if you want to be able to create that lean, you need to
develop the strength required to create that position.
Generally speaking, this strength will come in the form of
strength training (squats, deadlifts, cleans) and
plyometric training. Emphasize these critical components of
speed development along with developing the other biomotor
abilities and you will naturally be able to maintain that
lean and develop smoother and more powerful acceleration.

Learn how to do it right:

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