The Best Medicineball Exercises to Improve Your Speed by Lee Taft

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Discover how to improve your speed and quicknes by incorporating these medicine ball training drills into your training programs!

Medicine ball drills are overlooked by many coaches in general. Even when coaches do implement medicine ball training, they only look at it as upper body and core strengthening. There are so many other facets to medicine ball training.

Let’s take a look at the many ways in which medicine ball training can increase speed.

Here is a quick tutorial on physics. Newton’s third law of action reaction basically states that when ever there is a force applied, there is an equal and opposite reaction meeting that force. This is the concept I use medicine ball training to train for lateral speed and quickness, and actually it is great for deceleration training.

When an athlete applies quick and powerful force to the medicine ball to throw it, the feet must be the other end of the equation that counteract that force the arms are applying to the ball. When an athlete is in a athletic stance and throws the ball across the body, this action forces the legs to simulate the actual forces that occur during deceleration from lateral movement.

To test the theory that the position of the legs and the angles that are used during lateral deceleration are important, have the athlete throw the ball sideways across the body with the feet in a narrow stance (under the hips). You will see that lower power levels exist due to not having the proper leg angles. Also, you may even see the athlete lean or stumble away from the direction of the throw. This is due to the action reaction forces- because the feet are so narrow they can’t meet the action with an appropriate reaction and maintain balance and produce higher power.

Now I have talked about the importance of using the medicine to train for lateral speed, but I also like to use it for jumping and for transferring lower body power through the upper body and out the arms. Listed below are 7 fantastic drills that will improve speed and lower and upper body power.

1) Forward Shuffle (toward partner) and quick push pass:

1. The athlete will be in an athletic stance facing to the right.
2. The ball will be held at chest level with elbows out to the side.
3. The athlete will shuffle 2-3 hard shuffle to the left and immediately thrust open the hips and push pass the ball the partner on one bounce. (don’t catch in the air due to injury potential)

Keys to watch for:
• The athlete doesn’t fall forward or lean forward causing a loss of balance
• The athlete crosses the body with the throw rather than the hips opening up first to allow the throw to be more powerful and fluid.
• Make sure the athlete stays down in an athletic stance through out the exercise.

•Sets and reps:
o Beginners perform 1-2 sets of 5 reps on each side with 1:00 minute rest between sets.
o More advanced athlete performs 2-3 sets of 6-8 on each side with 2:00 break between each set.

2) Backward Shuffle (away from partner) and quick push pass:

1. The set up for this drill is the same as the first drill except the athlete will be shuffling away from the partner.
2.If the athlete is facing the right side and will be shuffling to the right, the right foot will be the planting leg while the left leg is the power leg during the shuffle.
3. When the athlete stops the angle of the right leg needs to be able to stop the body and apply quick force to get the hips through to make the throw.
4. This drill is outstanding to teach proper stopping angles.

Keys to watch for:
• The athlete can’t allow the shoulders to sway to the right, if shuffling to the right, during the stopping action. This will diminish the power of the throw.
• The hips must open quickly to get the ball out of the hands quickly.
• The athlete doesn’t want to fall forward or lean forward causing a loss of balance.

• Sets and reps:
oBeginners perform 1-2 sets of 5 reps on each side with 1:00 minute rest between sets.
o More advanced athlete performs 2-3 sets of 6 on each side with 2:00 break between each set.

3) Catch the ball perform a hip turn and shuffle away and perform a push pass back to partner:

1. This drill is similar to the backward shuffle and quick pass drill above.
2. The athlete in this drill will catch a chest pass that is directed to the right or left side of the body. The athlete must hip turn in the direction he catches the ball on.
3. Immediately upon the hip turn the athlete will defensive shuffle for 2-3 shuffles and perform a quick push pass back to the partner.

Keys to watch for:
• The athlete must be on balance and comfortable in the stance. If not, they will not be able to hip turn and shuffle away quickly.
• Watch to see if the hip turn and shuffle are one constant action. They shouldn’t be separate movements.

• Sets and reps:
o Beginners perform 1-2 sets of 5 reps on each side with 1:00 minute rest between sets.
o More advanced athlete performs 2 sets of 8 on each side with 2:00 break between each set

4) Medicine ball Routine:

1. Partners should stand at a distance that allows quick passing without a drop in ball height.

2. The routine goes as follows:
a. Partners facing each other and perform 5-10 quick chest passes each
b. Partners facing each other and perform 5-10 quick push passes on each side, aiming for the shoulders.
c. Partners standing sideways of each other and perform 5-10 quick side throws each (like a 2 handing scoop) on each side.

3. The key is to get rid of the ball quickly while maintaining a good athletic stance.
4. On the side throws it is important that the athletes decelerate and re-accelerate the ball quickly.

Keys to watch for:
• If the ball is too heavy the throws will be slow and the body will compensate by bending a twisting to gain momentum of the throw.
• Athletes should not loose balance on throws or catches

• Sets and reps:
o Beginners perform 1-2 sets of 5-10 quick throws on each side, allow for a 2:00 break between sets.
o More advanced athletes 2-4 sets of 5-10 quick throws on each side, allow for a 2:00 minute break between sets.

For more information about Lee Taft's Speed Program, visit http://SportSpecific.com/speed.html


Submitted by DMorgan on Mon, 06/25/2007 - 9:09pm.

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