The long accepted definition of speed has been stride length mutliplied by stride frequency. Therefore, two things you must work on to improve speed simply would be “stride length” and “stride frequency.” But an equal determinant of speed is also power and impact into the ground to move which can greatly effect “stride length.” For his reason, when I train athletes for speed, I always reinforce what a drill works on so the athlete can concentrate on either improving their length, frequency, OR power with a specific speed drill.
For example, alot of athletes sprint up hills to improve their speed. This becomes much more effective when certain stride length form drills are mastered (high knees, skips, cycles). After form to increase stride length, or stride lift, is mastered, then the hill becomes the resistance against “stride length” or lift. Athletes can then be cued to work on firing their hip flexors, snapping their elbows back, keeping their core tight, etc. while they are sprinting up the hill. If the athlete is thinking stride length while running up the hill, and with correct form, then hill training to improve stride length is much more effective.
For “stride frequency” a great piece of equipment to use is the footwork ladder. YES, the FOOTWORK ladder. If you are using the ladder for straight ahead drills, then you are working on SPEED! Simply mastering running through the ladder straight ahead with one or two feet in each box at a time. The key is, can your arm drive KEEP UP with the speed of your feet. If it can, and the athlete is thinking arm drive and frequency when performing the drill, then improving stride frequency is much more effective.
Alot of athletes and coaches use sleds for speed. But what are they working on? POWER into the ground to force movement!!! The weight on the sled kills your stride length and stride frequency, basically shuts it down. Therefore and athlete should be concentrating on power generation into the ground in order to improve their speed.
I tried to keep it simple to make a point. Speed training is not just going out and running sprints. That will get you in shape but not get you faster. You must first realize to focus on the 3 characteristics that really effect speed: stride length, stride frequency, and power.
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Why Tony is a trusted professional:
Tony started his education at Clemson University in South Carolina and attended graduate school at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It was there that he received a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology and graduated in the top of his class. His thesis was published by The European Journal of Applied Physiology and dealt with the benefits of exhaustive interval training. During this time, he interned with NHL’s Washington Capitals and was set to help the Washington Wizards prior the NBA lockout. From Washington, D.C. Tony moved to Orlando, Florida and quickly obtained a job helping the Head Strength Coach of the Orlando Magic for a basketball season. From there, his experience led him to Boca Raton, Florida where he became the Director of Human Performance at Cris Carter’s FAST Program. While at FAST he focused on sport specific speed, agility, and strength training. He helped prepare numerous NFL Combine athletes and professional athletes from all sports for their particular needs. During the spring of 2002, Tony utilized his experiences and created XPE, Inc. while relocating to Atlanta, GA. In the fall of 2009, Tony relocated XPE Sports to South Florida.Tony’s professional references before creating XPE included such athletes as: NFL Super Bowl Champion/ All-Pro/ Pro Bowl WR Jermaine Lewis, 2XWorld Series Champion/ Playoff MVP Craig Counsell, World Series MVP/ 2XAll¬Star/ MLB manager Bucky Dent, and tennis superstar Ivan Lendl. Now, Tony has made XPE’s references and endorsements both numerous and unmatched. To date, he has trained more than 70 World Champions or 1st Round picks. Some of these athletes have included (all below trained for at least 6 off seasons!!!):
RB Jamal Lewis – 10 Year NFL Veteran-Over 120 NFL Starts/ NFL All Decade Running Back (1 of 3) / Super Bowl Champion/ NFL Offensive MVP/ NFL Comeback Player of the Year/ 2000 Yard Rusher/ All-Pro/ Pro Bowl/ 1 Round Pick/ Over 10,000 Career Rushing Yards
WR Hines Ward – Entering 13th NFL Season -Over 160 NFL Starts/ NFL’s All Decade Wide Receiver (1 of 3)/ Super Bowl MVP/ 2XSuper Bowl Champion/ 3XAll-Pro/ 4X Pro Bowl/ Over 10,000 Career Receiving Yards and Steeler All-Time Reception and Yardage Leader
LB Takeo Spikes – Entering 13th Season-Over 160 NFL Starts/ 2XAll-Pro/ 2X Pro Bowl/ 1st Round Pick
DE Osi Umenyoria – Super Bowl Champion/ All-Pro/ 2XPro Bowl/ 6 Sacks in One NFL game
OL Wayne Gandy – 16 Year NFL Veteran-Over 200 NFL Starts/ All-Pro/ Pro Bowl/ 1st Round Pick
Each of the past few years, he has trained multiple athletes that have been drafted in the 1st Rounds of the NFL, MLB, and NBA drafts. In 2008, he trained 3 top 15 picks (Jerod Mayo-10th) that were all projected to get drafted in the 2nd to 3rd rounds before their NFL Combine performances. In 2010, he trained FIVE 1st round picks including the highest paid and drafted Safety (Eric Berry-5th) and Inside Linebacker (Rolando McClain-8th) of the decade. He has continuously put out the best performances in speed and explosion including the FASTEST PLAYER EVER (Jacoby Ford) and most EXPLOSIVE ATHLETE EVER (Gerald Sensabaugh). This led ESPN.com to do a SEVEN page article on his training program along with mentioning that “Villani has generated quite a buzz in recent years for his work with some of the fastest-rising talent at the Combine.”
He has trained well over 200 professional athletes in sports including but not limited to: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball and fitness. He has been featured on ABC, ESPN, NFL Films, SKY Network (European Fox), Raycom Sports, Comcast Sports South, CBS-Atlanta, and WPDE-Myrtle Beach and in USA Today, NFL Insider, USA Today Sports, The Sporting News, ESPN.com, CBS Sportsline.com, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Palm Beach Post, The Boca News, The Sun News, SCORE Atlanta, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, and the Princeton Review. His ability to train athletes to reach their fullest potential is unparalleled.