Unlocking Athletic Potential: How Speed is a Learnable Skill for All Sports Athletes

Speed is a learnable skill that can be trained at any age. Let's learn the basics together.


Your Coach

6/25/20232 min read

In the competitive realm of sports, speed often separates the good from the great. It's a coveted attribute across disciplines, whether it’s sprinting down the track, making a fast break in basketball, or dashing towards the goal in soccer. The prevailing myth that speed is solely a natural gift, bestowed upon the lucky few at birth, has been debunked. Increasing evidence and expert opinion confirm that speed, like any other skill, can be developed and enhanced through proper training and techniques. This revelation opens the door for athletes across all sports to unlock new levels of performance. Let's delve into how speed can be learned, improved, and perfected.

Understanding Speed in Sports

Speed in sports is not just about how fast someone can move from point A to point B. It encompasses several components, including reaction time, acceleration, maximal velocity, and agility. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in an athlete's overall speed performance. For instance, reaction time is pivotal in sports where responding quickly to a start signal or an opponent's move can be the difference between winning and losing. Acceleration and maximal velocity are crucial in track and field, football, and basketball, while agility — the ability to change direction quickly — is key in sports like soccer, tennis, and hockey.

The Science of Speed Training

Speed training involves a multifaceted approach that includes strength and power development, technique improvement, and neurological adaptations. Research has shown that improvements in strength, particularly in the muscles of the lower body, can significantly contribute to faster acceleration and higher top speeds. Plyometric exercises, which involve explosive movements like jumping, are particularly effective in enhancing muscle power and speed.

Technique also plays a critical role in speed development. Proper running mechanics, including foot strike, arm swing, and body posture, can make movement more efficient and faster. Even small adjustments in technique can lead to noticeable improvements in speed.

Neurological adaptations refer to the way training can change how the brain communicates with the muscles. Speed training can enhance the recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are essential for explosive movements. Furthermore, consistent training can improve muscle coordination, leading to smoother and faster movements.

Incorporating Speed Training into Practice

For athletes aiming to enhance their speed, incorporating specific drills and exercises into their training regimen is essential. This can include sprint intervals, agility drills, plyometrics, and strength training focusing on the lower body. It's also crucial for athletes to receive proper coaching on technique to ensure that they are moving as efficiently as possible.

Recovery and nutrition also play vital roles in speed development. Adequate rest is necessary for the body to repair and strengthen, while a balanced diet provides the fuel needed for high-intensity training.

The Psychological Aspect of Speed Training

Beyond the physical, speed improvement also has a psychological component. Setting achievable goals, maintaining a positive mindset, and visualizing success can all contribute to enhanced performance. The belief in one's ability to become faster can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, fueled by dedication and hard work.


Speed is not an innate talent but a skill that athletes can develop with targeted training and practice. By understanding the components of speed, incorporating specific drills into training, and focusing on both the physical and psychological aspects of improvement, athletes across all sports can unlock their speed potential. The journey to becoming faster is challenging and requires dedication, but with the right approach, it's within reach for any athlete willing to put in the work. Speed is not just for the naturally gifted; it's a learnable skill that can elevate an athlete's performance to new heights.