Maximum Velocity: Is it true that on October 29, 2018, you stated, “Maximum velocity is a parameter that rarely needs to be addressed” in regards to training basketball players?
Maximum Velocity: Is the reason for this because athletes do not reach maximum velocity while playing basketball?
Dogma: That is correct.
Maximum Velocity: So if an action is not performed during gameplay, it doesn't make sense to address it in training?
Maximum Velocity: Do your athletes perform barbell squats in training?
Dogma: Of course! Ass to grass baby!
Maximum Velocity: Have you ever seen a barbell squat take place in a game of basketball?
Dogma: Well, uh, no...but…
Maximum Velocity: So you are fine with addressing a barbell squat in training when it does not occur in competition, but you do not extend the same courtesy to sprinting until maximum velocity is attained?
Dogma: Well, players squat during competition. Bilateral jumps occur all the time, and squatting is a precursor to that.
Maximum Velocity: Are you saying that basketball players don't sprint in competition?
Dogma: Well, uh, no….They sprint, but they don't attain maximum velocity.
Maximum Velocity: When you train athletes in the squat, do you try to maximize the load they can move?
Dogma: Absolutely! The more they move, with quality technique of course, the greater the training effect!
Maximum Velocity: Do you think the same could be said for an athlete moving themselves as fast as they possibly can?
Dogma: Well, I think it is different.
Maximum Velocity: Please elaborate.
Dogma: Well, it just is.
Maximum Velocity: Do you address different areas of the force-velocity curve in weight training with athletes?
Dogma: Absolutely! Working through different areas helps create explosive athletes!
Maximum Velocity: Do you utilize sleds in your training?
Dogma: For sure! We range the loads from 5% body weight to 200% body weight.
Maximum Velocity: Wow, it seems that you are addressing most of the force-velocity curve there.
Dogma: Why do you say, “most of the force-velocity curve?”
Maximum Velocity: Because unloaded sprints would be on the velocity end of the spectrum.
Dogma: We do unloaded sprints.
Maximum Velocity: That is great to hear! What length?
Dogma: Twenty yards.
Maximum Velocity: Why that distance?
Dogma: Because it is unlikely they will have sprint further than that during gameplay and it allows them to focus on acceleration. Acceleration is king!
Maximum Velocity: What if I told you that increasing the distance to 40 yards would not only allow them to work on acceleration, but reap the benefits of training at maximum velocity?
Dogma: Are you saying that there is a training effect from moving at maximum velocity? I don't buy it.
Maximum Velocity: It is true, one of which is that when maximum velocity increases, the athlete's entire acceleration profile improves.
Dogma: Maybe, but basketball is different (judge puts the palm of his hand on his face and shakes his head).
Maximum Velocity exits the courtroom in a sprint…..leaving Dogma in his dust, and reaping the rewards of training at maximum velocity!
I realize I may come across as a sarcastic jerk by writing this, but it is based on numerous conversations I have had with many coaches of different sports. My intent is not to offend any coach or sensationalize a topic in which I am invested in (sprinting). My intent is to get people to think, and I will take on the risk of being thought of as a jerk if it causes people to think. We need to continually audit our methods and ask if there are better ways to achieve desired objectives. This requires an open mind AND an informed, non-biased, filter. There are positives and negatives to any exercise, and we choose the ones we feel work best for our athletes. That being said, the only absolute I adhere to in land-based sports is a gaping hole exists in programming if sprinting at maximum velocity is not addressed. I feel this way because it is one-of-a-kind stimulus. However, since I have an open mind and I do my best to keep my filter non-biased and informed, I would have my athletes cease sprinting if something better came along in a heartbeat.
The following articles go into greater detail on the benefits of training maximum velocity:
Rob Assise has 15 years of experience teaching mathematics and coaching track and field at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He also has coached football and cross country. Rob has attended all seven Track-Football Consortiums and was a presenter at TFC-6 and TFC-7. Additional writing of his can be found at Simplifaster, Just Fly Sports, and ITCCCA. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or Twitter @HFJumps