First, you are going to hear a lot of advice. Run faster, hit the weight room, etc. You will gain a training effect from almost any program. For example, you show up at the beginning of the season having done nothing. You go through a program and you will improve by the end of the season. Most of the time you will improve -- it is called "training effect".
For serious athletes, there are 2 ways to get faster. One is to make your movements more efficient (think of a distance runner who tend to "bounce" when they run and arms sometimes are out of sync). The other is to put more power into the ground (Coach Isaac Newton said for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction).
Efficiency of movement - out of your stance. You are going to explode out of your stance at approximately 45 degrees. In order to do this you are going to have to ensure that you are strong enough. Some exercises that you can do is to lean against a wall at a 45 degree angle. Bring up one of your knees and that ensure that your legs are parallel. This is the position that you will be in out of the blocks. Over the next few steps you will go from 45 degrees to a slight lean forward as you move from accelleration to a max velocity run. Your striking foot in front of you should land approximately 6 inches in front of your body. Many people strike in front of this because they point their toes. You want your feet to be dorsiflexed (i.e. picture an ankle with a good taping). This will ensure that you are "pushing" yourself forward using your glutes, rather than pulling yourself forward using your quads. Remember what Coach Newton said!
Power: explosive power. Full body movements are key. Think of cleans or snatches. Even plyometric jumps are goods. You want to focus on higher weight and lower repetition. You are not going to be doing 10 reps, but rather more like 4-6. Focus on getting your hips and glutes involved (the explosiveness of your hips moving forward is what brings the weight up). This will help with
getting your hamstrings involved too. Think about the pelvic tilt of a world class sprinter. They look like the strut everywhere they walk. It is actually because they have strengthened those muscles so much it has tilted their hips.
Also, a running back is not just about linear speed. You will also use the same ideas for lateral speed too. You will use the edges of your feet in order to push yourself into the direction that you want to. Try not to "plant and go" because this will decelerate you too much. Try instead to use the edges of your feet and slow down a little (imaging a baseball player rounding the bases - he is not planting at each base, but rounding the edges - works for all sports). For lateral speed, your trailing foot will be pushing off the inside edge while the leading foot is more outside edge.
Another important idea is to keep your feet straight ahead of you. If you start turning your feet, you will be using a small portion of the foot which can increase your chance of an injury, but also you cannot generate the power needed to move. Barry Sanders was a monster at keeping his feet straight and using the edges. By not turning your feet you can change direction faster. When reacting you will either need to move your foot into an efficient position or you will push off wrong part. Also, if you turn your feet a smart defensive person will be tipped on which way you are going to move.
Add in some exercises to strengthen your abductors and adductors of your legs. You will be using a lot of these. Also do some "prehab" for your ankles. Stay away from distance running and that includes too many suicides or long sprints. A running back will never run over 100 yds so there is no reason to train that far. Think about footwork at 5-10 yds. Ladder drills ephasizing your footwork (go slooooow until you get it right, no reason to practice wrong. ). In the ladder practice edges of feet on lateral and ball of foot on linear. Dorsiflex on both.
gfuzat · 7 years ago