As we prepare for our pre-season (usually about 8 weeks prior to our season start date) we want to begin making a slow shift from our non-specific sprint training into our specific sprint training. We need to consider two key aspects when designing these drills.
- What conditioning effect do we hope to achieve (max speed, repeat speed, general fitness…).
- What situation or skill do we need this drill to mimic or reflect.
In this particular drill we are looking for 1) a focus on the players ability to repeat max speed bursts with incomplete recovery (repeat sprint ability) and 2) we are looking to blend in player communication and timing runs after an overlap. Here is a short video example of our 6 Player Overlap Sprint Drill.
This drill is one of a dozen we will use for repeat sprint ability, and it builds off of our diamond passing progressions and checking runs (which we used as a warm up for this drill). We can run this drill with 10 players, 8 players or 6 players. We set the time limit at 3 minutes and try to get as many runs in as possible during that time. With 6 players, each player is making a full speed sprint with about 20-30 seconds of recovery, 8 players get about 30-45 seconds of recovery and 10 players get almost a full minute of recovery.
If we are in a workout that requires us to run at max speed (high neuro-muscular fitness) we use 8-10 players. If we are looking to blend in a little more fitness (Anaerobic Power) we use 6 players. But either way, we are still looking for max effort on each sprint.
Sometimes coaches find it hard to challenge players to run full speed during training sessions. They race players or create punishment based rules, but once players realize where they rank (fastest to slowest) they seem to play down to that level. Putting in a ball and playing it out in front of the player (forcing them to run it down) gets each player (no matter where they fall in the speed continuum) to go full speed on every run. This also does not let the negative, punishment based, or team ranking system come into play. This usually ends up being a more positive speed based session. Many players will comment that they never really thought about how tired they were, they just ran full speed (sort of like a game).
This is a great way to train players who may suffer from a lack of confidence, while also building team chemistry and communication. For more drills like this check out our eBooks or contact me at Scott@AthleteFIT.com