Speed is an important skill for any sport with a time limit or where two players are both attempting to accomplish something before the other (ie, Baseball). It might not be as important in sports like bowling, but for the vast majority of sports a faster athlete has a huge advantage. Speed is just the change in position over a certain period of time.
Square Team Sprint game
In this drill set up a square with cones. Divide into two teams, and have them anchor themselves at opposite corners. On the signal, the first person in each line runs around until they reach the back of their line. When they tag that person the first person in their line goes. If someone tags someone on the other team, then their entire team wins. The bigger the square, the harder it is to catch the person on the other team. Try this game several times with differing square sizes and differing orders. It’s a good idea to order the team from slowest to fastest.
Double Kicks Race
Double kicks are an significant part of Olympic Style sparring, but it is important to do them quickly. We do this type of training in a couple of ways. You can just call out a number, and then see who is the last person to finish. That person is out, and then just repeat until you find the winner. Another way to do this is to have teams. So when one person is out, the next person from their team comes in. Each person stays until they lose. That way faster people have to do more repetitions, which can dull their advantage. You will want to line the students up from slowest to fastest (or low belts to high belts) to make the drill more competitive.
We like to mix other techniques in as well. So we have the students lay down on the floor and then when we say the number they have to jump up, do the kicks, and then do falling technique. You can vary the starting and ending positions to disguise a lot of repetition here.
Another way to do this is as a relay. You can make each team go to 500. Add strategy by letting each team choose how to accomplish it. For instance, each person could do 25 and then switch, each person could do 50, faster people could do more, etc. Make sure each person yells what number they are on at the end of their set.
First to Kick Pad Game
Line students up on each side of a wavemaster bag or hanging heavy bag. On your signal, let them both do the same kick and see who reaches the bag first. It’s important that they both do the same leg, otherwise they might kick each other. For straight thrusting kicks, you can also include power by seeing which side the bag swings to. You could also have students run at the bag and hit it with their shoulders. This would be good for sports like football.
Reaction time is critical to many sports. There are two parts to being able to react quickly. The first is the actual time that it takes your sensory and processing neurons to fire and the second is the time it takes your body to do the reacting technique.It is much easier to train the second one. The other trick to reaction time is guessing correctly. This is why veterans seem to react faster than rookies. The rookies probably have a faster raw time, but the veterans can predict the opponents’ motion better.
Block/Fall Jump Game
For this game we divide the students into two lines. They each run forward towards the instructor who has two swords. As they run by, the instructor will hit them in a way that they have to either block, jump over, or do falling technique (or duck).
This creates a lot of energy when someone will jump into a head strike or something similar. It is hard to choose between three things at once, so start them just reacting to one, then add the second one, and then add the third one. The techniques could be any sport specific movement.
Reaction Ball Game
In this training we throw reaction balls and have the student see who can get them first. Reaction balls are generally available from soccer suppliers. They are lumpy balls which will bounce in unpredictable ways and are used for training goalies.
I like to add some obstacles that the students have to jump over, crawl under, etc. I make two teams and then say go. Once each student has cleared the obstacle I throw their ball. Whoever makes it back first wins. For this it is helpful if you have two different colored balls.
You can play for points with each team, or also play that the loser has to go out and you see who the last team standing is. Another way to do it is as a relay, so once someone comes back you throw the next ball. Boys vs. girls always works well for this drill.
For the more advanced classes I like to have one student in each line get a blaster pad blocker and try to prevent the other people from returning their balls. It’s usually get to get someone about medium sized, or don’t let the larger kids hold down a smaller one for the entire game. Another alternative is to let the blockers go after each other. This adds another strategic element.
For preschoolers I just have everyone sit in a circle and then say one person’s name while throwing a ball. That way you can keep everyone moving.
Move or spin a paddle and make sure students only hit it at the correct point.