Speed training: How tech can help you get faster, quickly
The world is filled with thousands of gadgets that claim to improve your speed and acceleration, but which ones actually deliver?
Speed training: How technology can help
The world is filled with thousands of gadgets that claim to improve your speed and acceleration, but which ones bring you million-dollar speed, and which just cost a million dollars?
In episode 82 of the Science for Sport podcast, Matt Tometz, Sport Science Coordinator at TCBoost Performance, divulges some industry secrets, letting you in on the cutting edge technology which is making a difference at the highest levels of sport.
First things first though – why is speed the most desired and famed physical trait? It may seem intuitive that speed changes games, wins tournaments, and defines careers, but it is also a gateway into pro sports.
“A high school baseball player who trains with us has been chatting with professional scouts, and they said that they’ll consider drafting him if he can drop his 40m sprint time. Not hit more homers, not get his arm stronger for throwing the baseball – ‘drop your 40’,” Tometz said.
So now we know speed is vital in many sports. And obviously tech can play a massive role in shaving milliseconds off your sprint time, but when it comes to technology, where do you start?
“You can get [something] as simple as Kinogram from Altis. This is a series of five pictures of someone’s sprinting technique, which just uses the slo-mo function on a phone. Although that’s not specifically measuring speed, you can just use your phone to [work out] ‘has our technique improved’?” Tometz said.
What else do you need for your speed training?
The next logical step is to get your hands on some timing gates. These are typically lasers that give you the exact time you break the beam at both the start and the end of your sprint. These are the ones that beep incessantly when they’re not working – that horrible, high-pitched noise you hear in your sleep three days after testing. Yeah, those.
“We need to be measuring speed. Now there are so many different lasers out there. We’re fortunate to have fusion smart speed lasers, so that’s a little bit higher end. There’s also stuff like Freelap, Brower, everything in between,” Tometz said.
Timing gates are the bread and butter of speed tech, but if you want to take things up a notch, there’s one piece of kit Tometz can’t live without.
“If I had unlimited money, I would use 1080 Sprint, because it spits out time, velocity, force, and power. The graph plots every step over time – it is how you run. So I can specifically say, ‘Oh, it was your fourth step that the curve kind of flattened out’,” Tometz said.
Obviously, 1080 Sprint sounds fantastic and futuristic, but what on earth is it?
“So it’s a linear transducer. Which basically measures how fast the string comes out of the machine. And that’s how it measures all of those metrics. But also one of the main selling points is that you can get super specific with the resistance, down to the 10th of a kilogram,” Tometz said.
A swift Google search will show you the 1080 Sprint will set you back north of $18,000 (USD). So if you need to have next-level precision in your sprint training, you’ll have to put your hand in your pocket.
More tips and tricks for speed training
Tometz goes on to discuss how he translates all of this great data into improved training and performance – if you want to hear more, just hit the link to the podcast below.
You can download the podcast on any of the big hosting services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or just use this link: https://scienceforsport.fireside.fm/82
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