In Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Soccer what is one common athletic trait that separates top performers from the crowd?

Speed kills.
Specifically, an explosive first step and otherworldly acceleration distinguishes your athletes from their opponents.  


All Movement Sports Benefit from Explosive Acceleration

Whether it’s driving to the lane in basketball, DeMarco Murray accelerating through a hole, or Ricky Henderson stealing third-base there is a major need for optimal acceleration.

While there’s nothing we can do about the genetic gifts of an athlete, Director of Sports Performance Loren Landow will help you optimize acceleration mechanics to develop the more efficient, faster athletes.

There is a distinct difference between top-end sprinting and developing explosive acceleration.

Acceleration utilizes a piston-type action, which is distinctly different than the cyclical pattern in top-end sprinting. Not to diminish the importance of top-end speed, but mastering the first few steps of acceleration is a vital skill. Most sports are played in short, explosive bursts, not 40-meter breakaway sprints.

Wall Drills for Sprinting Acceleration

Today, we’re going to show you a great exercise too groove acceleration with optimal joint angles and mechanics.

As a result, you’ll teach your athletes to develop more force in less time to accelerate faster and improve sports performance.

Start Slow

In motor learning it’s important to bring athletes along by chunking progressions to groove new movement patterns.

In the case of acceleration, wall drills provide a controlled environment to groove the piston action of acceleration.

Specifically, the wall drill grooves optimal forward lean, trunk integrity, and joint angles for faster running speeds.


Set up:

Have the athlete lean forward 45-60 degrees with the arms locked and trunk engaged. This lean will depend on many factors, such as postural integrity, limb length, and experience with the drill.

Have your athlete flex one hip to create a shank of the femur and tibia, allowing optimal angles for force generation and putting the gluteus maximus on stretch. Dorsiflex the feet to create a rigid spring for optimal force development on each explosive step.

Execution “punch” and “drive”

From the stationary position instruct your athlete to “drive” the flexed leg and rigid shank into the ground, striking with a dorsi-flexed foot for maximum force development.

Simultaneously, the planted leg should “punch” forward, mimicking the set-up position with the opposing leg.

The intent is to “drive” back behind the hips while punching the opposite leg to the loaded position without losing position. It’s imperative to keep the trunk engaged, arms locked, thoracic and pelvic positions stable.

The main issue with losing position is limited hip extension, which results in inefficient acceleration and slower sprinting speeds.

The acceleration wall drill grooves the optimal movement pattern for greater running speeds.

As a result, the athlete will generate maximal torque at the hip axis based on the shank of the thigh and the shin. From this position, your athletes will attack the ground aggressively without wasting time cycling the foot to the near end and have an explosive first step.

Wrap Up 

The wall drill is only one drill in a micro-progression to teach optimal acceleration mechanics for faster sprinting speeds, but it provides a stable environment to maximize optimal joint angles, body position, and trunk integrity to accelerate past the competition. Without a doubt, the wall drill is one of the top drills to groove an explosive first step. 

photo credit: Stride!!!! via photopin (license)