I have been doing a little data collecting recently, based on our speed endurance training. The results give rise to some basic questions which need to be addressed, particularly as they have implications for the kind of training that we (should?) perform.
My national training centre athletes’ performed some intensive speed endurance training. We worked on multiple repetitions of 20m and 50m. What is interesting to note is that when we analyze the 50m data in terms of biomechanics, we get the following:
1. The most powerful guy (measured in WATTS during sprinting) is not the fastest, nor has he the best acceleration
2. Over multiple repetitions of 50m sprinting, a significant difference (p < 0.01) is demonstrated between two athletes whose average times are 6.89s (SD 0.26) and 6.81s (SD 0.14) respectively.
Most strength and conditioning coaches are of the opinion that training for power is highly desirable. In fact, I know of a high performance lab testing the hypothesis that leg strength training should give rise to better push off and hence enhanced lateral displacement during tennis play. But my data show that speed is critical. When significant differences to the tune of 0.10s are observed, it can mean the difference between an athlete getting to the ball in the nick of time or just missing it and hence losing the point.
The mind is focused!