Hamstring solutions

The solutions to the issue of the explosion of hamstring are quite straightforward. Here some of the things that have worked for my colleagues and me. All of these take a deep commitment to coaching movement.

Perfect Impeccable Sprint Mechanics – This does not me mean more part drills; it means an analysis of each player’s mechanics and appropriate corrections designed for each player. One size does not fit all. Also must work on top speed mechanics not just acceleration mechanics.

Train Max Velocity Sprinting – There is the mistaken notion that field sports are limited to acceleration, this is not the case. Players can come close to their max velocity several times or more (depending on position and style of play) in the course of the game or match. Start simple with Left/Right /Left drill – take a twenty meter run-in and hit top speed for one stride (L/R/L) add strides progressively out to 30 meters.

Thorough and Complete Warm-up – This must be progressive and active. It must include multi-plane lunge & reaches and mini band work (attached at ankle). Use foam rollers, sticks and other props in cooldown not in warm-up, too passive.

Small Sided Games – Reduce the emphasis on small-sided games played in restricted spaces. Include games that force the players to go forward and overlap at greater distances to mimic game speed and conditions. You cannot only go all out in games and not be at risk for pulls.

Strength Training – Emphasize lunges in all three planes and step-ups (Both low and high). Vary the load. Vary the resistance. Always work through a full range of motion. Think of strength training as coordination training with appropriate resistance.

Training Activities – Incorporate curved runs, figure eight runs and circle runs at least twice a week in training.

Individualize Training – Know each player’s maximum velocity and base running intensities on that.

When to Train Speed – Only train speed when fresh. Stabilize and ingrain great technique and then and only then add technique under fatigue (TUF)

“Fitness Tests” – De-emphasize fitness tests. They send the wrong message. Players get ready and fit for the tests and not the game

Reminder of some don’ts

  • Stay off the treadmill for training and running gait analysis just reinforces and rewards poor mechanics
  • Don’t use Nordic Hamstring Curl
  • Minimize supine bridging
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