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7 lessons on team speed

Throughout October and November we posted a variety of content about team speed. With the chance to talk to so many experts on the topic, I’ve been thinking about it a lot myself as well. Below are some key lessons I’ve learned or reemphasized recently on getting athletes faster in team sports.

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Improving speed across football codes

Sprinting is an important action in many sports. In soccer, for example, research has demonstrated that, whilst the total distance covered by a player in an English Premier League match has stayed reasonably consistent over time, the number of high intensity efforts has increased by 50%, with the total distance of high intensity running having increased by 30%. Studies from other sports classed as “football” (AFL, Rugby League and Union, American Football, Gaelic Football, etc.) demonstrate similar trends. As such, we can be confident that possessing high levels of sprint speed, and the ability to maintain this speed under fatigue, is an important aspect of success in these sports. The question for coaches, however, is how do we improve speed in our players?

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HMMR Podcast Episode 259: Speed in context (with Jonas Dodoo)

Sprinting on the track and sprinting on the field use the same blueprint. The key differences lie in how that blueprint is applied to a different context. On this week’s podcast speed coach Jonas Dodoo draws upon his experience helping elite players in nearly every sport get faster to explain the impact of the blueprint and the context on how you train speed.

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Rethinking speed development for team sports

Speed is often what defines key moments in team sports and distinguishes the good teams from the great teams. The key question faces coaches then is: are we creating and environment that nurtures speed, or kills it? All too often we see athletes that fail to get faster as their careers progress or typically, regress in their speed. The systematic progression of athletic and technical capabilities should see running-based sport athletes reach their speed potential in their late 20s or early 30s. It is up to coaches to create an environment to develop speed to its full potential.

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GAINcast Episode 227: Game speed (with Dean Benton)

Developing faster athletes for team sports doesn’t just mean training them like sprinters. Both sports require fast athletes, but in completely different contexts. Like anything, developing speed in a new context comes down to how you train and Dean Benton has spent his career trying to unlock the methods that can make his teams play faster. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to discuss the significance of speed, how he defines the key elements of team speed, and his approach to developing game speed.

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GAINcast Episode 196: Performance teams (with Dave Reddin)

Dave Reddin has helped assemble performance teams and structures at England Rugby, the Football Association, and British Olympic Association. Together, they achieved historic results. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to discuss how coaches can best work together to support a team, as well as thoughts on how sports science and monitoring can best fit into the performance equation. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 189: Reflective coaching (with Xavier Roy)

Coaches need to reflect and debrief, but translating the theory into practice can be difficult. Xavier Roy recently completed his PhD on the topic and as part of his research he worked hands on with a Canadian football team to see how coaches reflected on training, and what steps they took to implement changes. On this episode of the podcast he joins us to discuss his research and also share thoughts on training for football and current trends both north and south of the border. Read more

GAINcast Episode 134: Sports science has lost its way (with Tony Strudwick)

Over the last decade the field of sports science has grown exponentially. At the same time it has started to lose its way. Rather than telling players what they can do, it often tells players what they can’t. Rather than focusing on adaptations, it focuses on measuring loads. And rather than being coach-driven, training has become driven more by the backroom staff. On this episode of the GAINcast, Tony Studwick shares his experience as a sports scientist. In more than a decade with Manchester United he saw first hand how the field has evolved and what the best teams do differently in this area. Read more

August 2018 in review: rugby training

Over the past few years I’ve had the chance to get more involved in the sport of rugby. The complex demands of the sport, combined with the fraternity of players and coaches, have been a great learning experience for me. This month on HMMR Media we wanted to dig deeper into the sport to learn from some of the top practitioners. Throughout the month contributors helped put together 1 new video, 3 new podcasts and 5 great articles. Below you’ll find links to all our new resources and some highlights from our archives on the topic. More archived content focused on field sports is also summarized in the topics section. And, as always, become a Plus Member to make sure you get access to all of the vast resources on the site. Read more

The role of genetics in reducing hamstring injuries

Hamstring injuries in sport are highly pervasive, often representing the most common injury site across a range of sports from rugby to sprinting to American football. One sport in which hamstring injuries have been well examined is that of soccer; during the 2016/2017 English Premier League season, 27% of all injuries suffered were hamstring injuries. This lead to the loss of over 20,000 training days, with the wages of the injured players exceeding £131 million. Alongside this massive financial burden is the issue of future performance decrements; having suffered a prior hamstring injury, players are more likely to suffer a further hamstring injury, an injury at another site, and a reduction in future performance. Read more