Speed Development Program

Need for Speed Top Joint

It doesn’t matter the sport, everyone wants to be fast. Unfortunately, not everyone is, but everyone can surely get faster. This comes down to a few key principles, and it’s not just about running a faster 30, 40 or 60-yard dash. Beating out an infield grounder or running down a fly ball can be a game changer…literally.

One of the deciding factors in whether an athlete is explosive or not is the amount of Type 2 (“fast twitch” muscle fibers vs. Type 1) that they have within their muscle spindles. Without turning this into an anatomy lesson, let’s look at these two fiber types.

Type 1 and Type 2 Muscle Fibers

Type 1 muscle fibers are smaller in size and are known as slow twitch or “aerobic” muscles. They are more efficient at using oxygen to generate more fuel (known as ATP) for continuous, extended muscle contractions over a long period of time. This means that they are slower to fatigue and have better endurance than Type 2 fast twitch fibers. This makes them great for endurance sports such as running marathons and bicycling for hours.

Type 2 or “fast twitch” muscle fibers are larger in size than Type 1. They are much better at generating short bursts of strength or speed than their slow twitch counterparts. They also produce more force and power with their short term contractions, however, they fatigue more quickly. This is why you can run or jog for hours but can only sprint for seconds before you gas out.

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Although I do believe that much of what makes an athlete fast is genetic, there are things that can be done regardless to make someone faster. Remember, genetics give us a starting point, but they don’t tell us where we’ll end up.  Many athletes simply accept their speed and write it off as “genetics”.  Thinking and believing anything less is a cop out.

Here is a summary of several crucial but related points:

Getting fast is first and foremost about getting strong – The more horsepower a player has, the more force he is able to put into the ground to get his body moving quickly. We can teach running mechanics all we want but if there is limited power being put into the ground on each stride it’s pointless. That’s why here at RPP, only athletes that strength-train with us are eligible to enroll in our Speed Development Program. We want it to work and we believe this to be the best way to get you fast.

Spend time training movements that pertain to your sport – It’s a waste of time training “top-end speed” with athletes who never reach it. And, other than sprinters, no other sport reaches top-end speed. For ball players, time would be better spent on quickness in the first 10 yards, or change-of-direction speed.

Generally sports are about moving linearly (front-to-back) and laterally (side-to-side), but in baseball, the ability to start and stop quickly is the deal breaker. Ever watch a rabbit run? It’s actually not only how fast they are, but how quickly they start and their ability to stop on a dime and change direction.

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The same goes for ball players. If Player 1 runs a 4.3 sec 40-yard dash and Player 2 runs a 4.5 sec dash but has better starting and stopping (acceleration/deceleration) mechanics, Player 2 will be faster on the field every time. This is particularly important for middle infielders in baseball who don’t really have a lot of time to foot-plant and change direction to make a play. Thus, training first-step quickness and change-of-direction speed as well as improving mobility, strength and deceleration mechanics should be the focal points of any great speed development program.

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The following is a brief summary of highlights of our Speed Development Program which has been designed to be specific to baseball players:

Jumping and Landing

  • Concentric / Eccentric Force Production

Broad-Jump

Linear/ Lateral Acceleration

  • 30 and 60 yd. dash time
  • Base running

Linear/ Lateral Deceleration / Change of Direction

  • Fielding (both infield and outfield)
  • Base stealing

Directional Step

  • Base running and stealing

The RPP Speed Program is an 8-week program and meets 1x per week. In order to participate in these programs you would need to have been and continue to be participating in any one of the RPP strength programs. We can teach running mechanics all we want but if there is limited power being put into the ground on each stride a speed program is pointless. Get strong first.

Hitters Rx participants can take advantage of the Speed Program during January-February as an optional 3rd day.

Speed Program