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Catching up with David Joyce, TCG Rehabilitation and Fitnesss Guru


Hi, hola, bonjour and G’day! My name’s Dave Joyce and I’ve been asked by the good folks at Peak Performance to write a regular e-zine for you guys.
I’m an athletic rehabilitation and performance specialist and I currently work at Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League as well as lecturing at the University of Bath on the Masters of Sports Physiotherapy course. 
Many of you will already be working in elite sport, but many of you will be working in sport either as athlete, coach, physio or whatever at a recreational or sub-elite level and so I hope that I can be your “inside man” when it comes to what happens at the top level.
I would really welcome some feedback as well, because, whilst I have hundreds of topics I can write about, what’s really important is that I write about the subjects that matter to you guys.
All that’s left for me to say is welcome and I hope you find my column both interesting and helpful!
Stay robust amigos,

Training for Speed

What a great couple of weeks we’ve had in the world of sport. We’ve had the European track and field championships, the Irish Open golf. The Hungarian Grand Prix, test cricket, opening day of the football league season, Community Shield, Bledisloe Cup (the less we say about this the better!) not to mention the various other footy codes around the world. I just love watching sport. Not just the technical and tactical aspects of it, but also the pure athletic nature of its combatants. And I just love speed. The faster the sport or the athlete the better. In fact when you think about it, it seems that just about every technological advance we see these days seems to be about speed. With the exception of cheque clearing times and the length of time it takes for me to send birthday presents from the UK to my family in Australia, just about everything in the last 20 years has sped up. 
The same can be said about sport. Almost every (proper) sport on the planet rewards speed. This doesn’t just apply to the obvious suspects such as sprinting, track cycling and Formula 1. Speed and power are essential ingredients of all the martial arts, every court sport and all the football codes. 
Most people think about speed only in terms of how fast a person (or horse etc) can shift over ground or water but these are the most obvious performance manifestations of muscular contraction speed. Think of club head speed in golf. This is one of the things that differentiates amateur from professional players. It has little to do with the engineering of the club and more to do with the speed of muscular force production in the torso and shoulders of the player. In fact, there are very few sports that reward slowness in any form. It is pretty easy to see why coaches value speed above just about every other physical attribute. Please let me know through the appropriate channels if you can think of any (apologies to any curlers out there!).
"Sprinting is all about power and technique; the ability to maximise force production in as short a time as possible."
So how do we train for speed then? The answer, whilst almost sounding facetious, is obvious…quickly! No-one has ever successfully trained to be a sprinter by running slowly. The basic sprinting equation is: force applied to the ground x number of times it is applied. When we apply force to the ground, the ground pushes back up at us to the same extent (thanks very much Sir Isaac Newton!). The ground basically propels us forward and up towards the finishing tape. Now, sprint coaching is incredibly complicated but it essentially boils down to:

  • making sure the positive (accelerating) foot impulse is maximised every time the foot hits the ground
  • ensuring the leg turn over is rapid (so that these accelerations can be delivered as often as possible)
  • minimising negative forces (for example by the foot landing too far in front of the body, thereby acting as a break until it is sufficiently under the body to enable it to act as a propellant)
You can see, sprinting is all about power and technique; the ability to maximise force production in as short a time as possible. Power decays as we get older and therefore, so does speed and so next week we’ll look at what we can do to cheat (or at least slow) this decay.



Speed Training: Plyometric Drills
When done correctly, plyometrics are an excellent supplement to your speed, strength and power training programme. They can greatly improve your power levels and help increase body control, as they deal with moving your own body weight. 
Speed Development
Speed is the capacity to perform successive movements at a fast rate. As well as thinking about speed as ‘running speed’ it is really the development of the ability to move the limbs quickly, which is needed in a variety of sports and events, eg javelin, discus, tennis, squash etc. Therefore, there is more to think about than just running fast.

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