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Sprint speed is directly determined by the level of stride frequency.
Speed in running is a function of two key elements known as stride length and stride frequency. Stride frequency is determined by ground contact time and leg recovery, or the ability to move from one stride to the next in an efficient manner. The ability to quickly apply force into the ground then tuck the calf to the hamstring and pull the knee through to the next stride is the most important motion in determining the ability to improve stride frequency.
The quick-step drill is an effective, low-impact drill designed to minimize ground contact time which will in turn improve stride frequency. To perform the drill, begin with your feet and toes flexed upwards and your arms bent at 90-degree angles. Pick one foot up in the air 6 to 8 inches high and slightly forward and then rapidly switch feet, making sure to move your opposite arm with your opposite leg. Repeat at full speed for 5 yards, then walk 5 yards. Repeat this cycle for two to three rounds.
The high-knee fold drill is an exceptional drill for improving leg recovery, turnover and stride frequency. To perform the high-knee fold drill, begin on the balls of your feet with your toes flexed upwards and your torso upright. Your hands should be open and your elbows should be at 90-degree angles. Raise one knee quickly until your calf muscle contacts your hamstring muscle. Your ankle should be flexed upwards and your opposite arm should move forwards. Switch legs and arms as fast as possible for 5 yards, then rest.
Correct and fast arm movement will help produce faster strides when using an opposite arm to opposite leg relationship. To perform correct arm action, your hands should be open and loose, your posture should be strong and your elbows should be bent at 90-degree angles. Maintaining the correct angles, your arms should pump straight forwards and backwards, passing in front of your eyes and then just past your hips. Practicing stationary arm action is an excellent drill for improving mechanics and speed.
Skipping drills are an effective exercise for improving technique and quickness in the hip flexors and hamstrings and for reducing ground contact time. To perform a basic skip, begin on the balls of your feet with your toes flexed upwards and your elbows at 90-degree angles. Raise one knee and jump up and forward with the other leg. Land on the same leg then quickly switch legs, driving the knee high. To improve power, try to maximize the distance in the air on each jump.