Speed kills. Speed is king.
There are just so many mottos that concern speed and they all say the same thing: speed is everything.
Of course, we all want to be able to run the fastest. This is especially true with Ultimate players.
If you have amazing speed, you’ll find great success in the field even when your every other skill is below average.
With speed, you can have an instant impact in the Ultimate field. Speed on defense can lead to blocks and interceptions, while speed on offense can result in downfield receptions.
For today, we’ll talk about the best speed drills and exercises that will make you into a bona fide “Speed Devil.”
5 Best Speed Drills For Every Ultimate Player
Below are some of the best speed exercises that will help improve your speed and acceleration in the field.
This drill is all about improving body control and the crucial transition that happens between short-area footwork and sprinting.
This drill features a very simple setup. All you need is a cone right next to you and a pair of cones about 5 to 8 yards downfield which serve as your finish line.
Start on either the left or right side of the cone. To begin, shuffle in front of the cone before doing a backpedaling motion behind it – as fast as you can while still maintaining good form. Once you’re close and around the cone, give a forward burst and accelerate through your finish line.
Make sure that you stay tight to the cone as you circle it. Also, you should avoid taking false steps and keep the shoulders stable and square while circling the cone.
2. Fast Feet Drill
The fast feet drill focuses on training your feet for moving quickly in tighter areas. When done right, this exercise will enhance the player’s balance, footwork, and acceleration mechanics.
Place a cone at the start of the drill. About 5 yards in front of that cone, place a pair of cones side-by-side and staggered just a bit to the right of the first one. Another 5 yards in front of the pair of cones, set up another pair which will serve as your finish line.
Start on either the left or right side of the very first cone. Circle around that cone as fast as you can while keeping your shoulders square (see Circle-Around-The-Cone Drill) prior to accelerating towards to the first pair of cones in front. Transition to a backpedal motion between the first pair of cones before running towards the finish line.
Stay as close as possible to the cones and make sure that you accelerate in a straight line between the cones.
3 .Speed Ladder Change-Of-Direction
For this exercise, you will obviously need a speed ladder which is commonly used for speed and agility training. This drill is designed to help you develop faster feet and to improve the ability to turn on a dime.
Set up a speed ladder in an open area. About 8 to 10 yards beyond the end of the speed ladder, place a pair of cones for your finish line.
Start at the beginning of the ladder. From here, you can either move laterally or backpedal through the ladder. Regardless of your chosen variation, make sure that you follow the pattern of two feet in, two feet out. After you complete the final space of the ladder, turn and sprint towards the finish line.
At first, you can try walking through the drill, then complete it as fast as you can. Make sure that you keep your hips low and you stay tight to the ladder.
4. Wall Drills
Doing wall drills is a great way to improve your knee drive. This drill forces you to drive your knees high which will over time not just improve your acceleration but overall speed as well. This is a pretty simple drill and you need nothing more than a wall.
Start by positioning yourself in front of a wall and placing your hands against it. Your arms should be straight and parallel to the floor. Your body should be a straight line from head to ankles and angled at about 45 degrees.
Raise your right knee to your hips and flex your foot. Then lower the foot and repeat the motion with your other knee. The key here is to alternate the movement as fast as you can for about 10 seconds. Make sure that you are engaging your core and lower back. Do three sets and you’re golden.
5. Hill Sprints Reduced Risk Of Injury
Sprinting on a hill is one of my favorite speed drills as you only need a hill and a pair of cleats. Plus, it’s far more challenging to run on a hill than a flat surface since you have to contend with gravity.
Hill sprints are amazing for strengthening the muscles that are used in acceleration since you are constantly pushing yourself uphill. This forces you to do an aggressive knee lift and intense arm action. The hill’s incline also helps in reducing the risk of hamstring injury by curbing top speeds.
To start, find a hill and sprint upward as fast as you can. Then walk back slowly down the hill which should serve as your rest time. As soon as you reach your starting point, sprint up the hill again. It goes without saying that the steeper the hill, the more challenging the drill is. There are also other hill sprint variations that you can consider if you wish to challenge yourself.
Advantages Of Doing Speed Drills
So why should you perform speed drills regularly? Here are some benefits that you should know:
Your overall running speed is determined by strides. To be specific, it’s how far your stride carries you and how quickly you can complete it.
Those who can quickly apply a greater force to the ground will get back into the air faster, resulting in a longer stride. So, by doing speed drills, you are training your nervous system and muscles to produce more force with each stride.
Contrary to popular opinion, training for speed will not make you vulnerable to injuries but it’s the other way around.
Training for speed puts your muscles through a fuller range of motion which improves flexibility. You are training more muscles and muscle fibers which gives the benefit of better muscle balance.
By strengthening your muscles through speed training, you are reducing the risk of injuries by about two thirds.
Ultimate players need to have a good balance in order to compete. Without a good balance, you’d wobble and topple every time your foot touches the ground.
Speed training incorporates dynamic movements like running backward, side steps, and single-leg drills which improve your ability to handle any type of terrain.
Agility is a must for football players. Well, it happens that Ultimate is quite similar to football. So, having a higher agility certainly won’t hurt.
Agility has to do with how quickly and effectively change direction which is an important skill when playing Ultimate.
Many speed training exercises include cones and ladders which can also improve your overall agility, not just speed.
Get Your Speed On
That wraps up this article about the best speed drills that you can do to bring out your inner speed demon.
If you are truly serious about becoming the best Ultimate player, you should really work on becoming the fastest player in the field. Speed training is more than just pure speed.
If you are training for speed, you will also end up improving your agility and quickness. If not, you’re going to be beaten by someone who does.
Like all exercises, make sure that you perform these drills properly. Observe proper form and do warm-ups to minimize the risk of injuries.
So, have you been working on your speed in the field? Which exercises do you like for training speed? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences using our comment section.