Speed abilities refer to the complex of functional abilities which enables the athlete to perform necessary motions with minimal time. The complexity of speed abilities are reflected in three specific regimens of muscle work:
· One-time explosive efforts
· Reaching maximum speed with minimum time
· Maintaining speed over a distance
The main factor of a one-time explosive effort is the amount of muscle tension. The longer the preparatory motion, the greater are the achieved strength and speed. The development of one-time explosive efforts is done by:
· Increasing the effectiveness of the impulses of the central nervous system
· Improving intra- and intermuscular coordination
· Increasing the power of alactate mechanism
· Forming the appropriate biodynamical structure
In several of today's sports, starting accceleration is very important. It is a specific form of cyclic acceleration which can determine the outcome of highperformance results. The speed of motions and the effectiveness of start acceleration are greatly dependent on maximum power (strength - velocity). Power is determined by the levels of strength and velocity, and by the ability to realise them in specific motions.
Speed abilities, similarly to jumping abilities (depth jumps), are dependent of the central nervous system. An important factor for fast movements is using the elasticity of muscles - i.e. storing elastic energy at the beginning of the motion, and realising it in the working phase. For example, a good starting acceleration is dependent on the length of strides, which in turn is dependent on explosive power (similarly to jumping). Some examples of the speed abilities of athletes:
· A longer stride is one of the major differences between good and average athletes with similar maximal oxygen consumption, height, and weight.
· In the case of equivalent acceleration, the average frequency and interval of strides is greater with highly qualified athletes than with athletes of lower abilities.
· When sprinting, increasing tempo while maintaining stride length is considered especially important; the best sprinters outperform their competition not by stride length, but by stride frequency.
Speed exercises should not be performed early in the morning. It's also important to use relaxation exercises and massage.