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Training for speed and power in sport and fitness
Training for speed and power in sport and fitness

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1 What are speed and power?

Before you can look at how to train for speed and power you need to understand the definitions, mechanics and physiology of these components of fitness. In Activity 1 you will start by exploring speed and power.

Activity 1 What are speed and power?

Timing: Allow 10 minutes for this activity

Watch Video 1 and then reflect on what the words ‘speed’ and ‘power’ mean to you.

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Video 1 Speed and power
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Now answer the following questions and write them in the box below.

  • What is speed?
  • What is power?
  • What sports/activities require speed and power?
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Speed can be defined as a measure of the rate of motion and is therefore the distance travelled divided by the time taken to travel that distance (Murray and Kenny, 2016). Power is a measure of the rate at which energy is transferred – that is, power is force multiplied by distance divided by time (Murray and Kenny, 2016). So in simple terms speed refers to how quickly we move (for example, from the start to the end of a 100m race), while power is a combination of strength and speed, and refers to the ability to execute strong explosive movement at a fast pace (for instance, as with exploding from the starting blocks). Speed and power are closely related, and both are often important in specific sports or activities.

A needs analysis of your sport or activity will indicate how important speed and power are to you. There is a wide range of sports and activities in which speed and power are important – in some sports such as sprinting or power-lifting, achieving speed and power are the main objectives, whereas in other sports such as rugby or football they are just one aspect of the sport. Speed or power may be required in various parts of the body – for example, in cricket the arm of a bowler needs to be able to travel at speed to deliver the ball, but the legs and the rest of the body also need to move fast in order to enable this.

Hence training to develop speed and power needs to consider the movements involved in partaking in the sport. You will now consider this: the mechanics and physiology of speed.