The Development of Speed
Speed is the most difficult component to develop and certain prerequisites are needed before training can bring expected results. Training methods for sprinters are not so good, as some coaches do not know how to or are reluctant to change their old ideas.
New techniques need to be learnt; how to improve pure speed; about speed; speed rhythm, and how to help with the improvement of fast twitch muscle fibres. Certain coaches only want to “over train and strain” instead of asking questions about correct or better training methods. Have you ever asked yourself if you are doing the correct training, the correct amount of training, as well as the correct training for athletes with different inherited talents or different muscle fibre types?
Achieving world class performance in speed events is possible only through careful talent identification and correct speed training. This must be combined with the correct development as the theory that the functions of inherited nerve and muscle fibres are changed through training is still controversial.
Some coaches just copy the programmes of other athletes or international athletes, or programmes that they buy from the internet, while others train all their athletes on the same old programmes year after year. Sometimes every child or athlete needs their own programme to benefit their specific talents and needs. If you train 20 children on the same programme only 1 out of the 20 might benefit from that programme.
We as South Africans can’t compete with the rest of the world, because coaches use the wrong training methods for our type of muscles fibres. The African American sprinters and the sprinters form the Caribbean Islands are borne with a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibres and that is why they are so fast. If athletes are borne with a less amount of fast twitch fibres, the coach cannot do the same training programmes as the Americans or Jamaicans. They are genetically different and to use their programmes on an athlete with less fast twitch fibres is detrimental for the athlete. That is one of the reasons why we don’t have decent senior athletes in our country. Some have been trained the wrong way and their bodies couldn’t cope with the wrong training programmes that were not designed or suitable for their fibre types and their particular talents.
Certain coaches have never done research to see what really happens with the correct training, they just follow the “fast American “programmes. If an athlete has inherited speed, he/she can still be trained incorrectly, i.e. like the Americans, and still perform well. Not the same can be said about people with less talent.
Through a lifetime of his own experience, practical experience and research Owen developed new training ideas and training programmes to develop and support athletes who are not born with a high percentage of explosive white fibre muscle types... Most books deal only with the training of good and very talented sprinters, but to coach and develop young athletes with less talent is not as easy.
Athletics Programmes and Programming
by Owen van Niekerk
Gold medals galore – this is synonymous with the 60-year career of one of South Africa’s most respected coaches, Owen van Niekerk. And now Van Niekerk is sharing all the secrets of his success in Athletics Programmes and Programming!
Graduated Tables for Performance Optimization in Track and Field
by Owen van Niekerk
The book will provide the reader with answers to two critical questions: 1) What are the essential criteria that should be met by any athlete wishing to participate in a specific Track or Field event? 2) How does a specific athlete measure up to these criteria?