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Speed is the name of the Game. It always was and always will be. To become the star in your discipline, in most sports, you must have speed. There are many methods which can improve your running speed.  One if those is using the  “Stick Drill Method”.

Stick drills can be applied for speed development and learning of sprinting actions through the models of target performance. Main objectives to be improved are:

  • Development of surplus in stride frequency
  • Development of surplus of stride length
  • Training for optimal efforts
  • Modeling of racing efforts

Equipment to be used:

  • Wooden or plastic sticks 1cm x 2cm x 15cm
  • Weight pants (100-200gr) – optimal / not for begginers
  • Photocells or stopwatch

1. Development of surplus in stride frequency

From a flying start (20-30m approach) 12 sticks are placed at distances which permit the execution of strides through the full range of motion with a 3-5% surplus to target pace. Normally a 15-20% reduction of the maximal stride length will not affect negatively the running technique. If the athlete is not able to demonstrate a surplus in stride frequency over the reduced distances we should reduce further the distances between sticks. When the athlete is able to execute the time target that has been set, we gradually increase the distances between the sticks, so that the athlete is been challenged to master this increased frequency over the increased stride length. This drill can also be used in training optimal efforts.

2. Development of surplus in stride length

From a 5-10m approach, 16-18 sticks are placed with gradually increased distances up to the target maximal stride length. The first interval between sticks can be 70% of target stride length, while the following distances can be increased by 2-3% (5-8cm).

A second exercise is to start from a 3 point starting position or blocks. The distances should model 6-7 strides over the first 10m, 11-12 strides over 0-20m and 15-16 strides over 0-30m.

The above drill may be executed also on a downhill (3-5% incline) for even better results or by wearing weight pants (not for begginers).

By using the “Stick Drill Method”, the coach will be able to determine the target model of efforts and rehearse these efforts through the use of stick drills. During training, we can detect frequency by timing 10 steps manually or the distance with photocells. In order to time manually, we start the stopwatch when the athlete land his foot between sticks one and two and stop the watch on foot landing between sticks eleven and twelve. This will give us the time for 10 steps. Frequency is determined by dividing the number of steps by this time (e.g.
10 steps time =2sec, frequency is 10:2=5 steps/sec). Velocity can be determined by dividing the total distance of 10 steps by the time (e.g. 20m:2sec=10m/sec).

The “Stick Drill Method” is not new. It has been tried out by numerous coaches and athletes the last 30+ years and is a proven effective training method of speed development.