Best Youth Speed Game

Coach Dave Gleason shares with you his Best Game for teaching speed and agility for youth athletes.

The beauty of this game is it not only helps lays the foundation of speed & agility but you can use this game to help reinforce mechanics you already covered (while keeping it fun).


Coach Dave Gleason is the Co-Creator of ‘Game Play Performance’ a series of fun, but effective games to help improve performance while keeping your athletes engaged. Click here for more info >>

The right speed & agility program for you

This past summer I had the opportunity to collaborate with the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) in creating their recently released Youth Speed and Agility Specialist (YSAS) Certification Course.

Combining the expertise of myself, Dave Jack and Dr. Toby Brooks, I feel confident saying that the final result is the definitive coaching resource on developing speed and agility in youth (6-18) field and court sport athletes.


Because the three of us catered to our strengths. Dr. Brooks brought his sport science background and drafted the most impressive text I’ve seen on the theory and methodology of teaching speed and agility to kids.

Dave Jack, an advisor to Reebok and Boston Celtic Paul Pierce’s Truth on Health Foundation, brings his wealth of knowledge in the areas of multidirectional speed and agility.

And, of course, I demonstrate my most up-to-date progressions for teaching linear speed.

(Become a Youth Speed & Agility Specialist today.)

As you research possible speed and agility programs to invest in, you may be wondering which program is a better fit for your personal needs: my Complete Speed Training (CST) program or the YSAS Course.

So here is my opinion:

If you coach athletes competing in team (field & court) sports like football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, etc., you will get more bang for your buck with the YSAS course than you will with CST.

CST is very drill dominant. So it does have a larger overall inventory of drills and exercises in terms of showing you the actual things you’ll specifically use to make up your training sessions. And it does a great job of explaining how to teach and cue those drills so your athletes do them right.

I think that is where CST is very strong and why it continues to be one of the most popular speed training programs on the market.

The YSAS course, on the other hand, is very skill and progression dominant. Instead of just showing you all the drills you can use, we actually show you how we teach these skills and progressions to real athletes in a training situation.

(For example, I had never met the athlete I workwith in the course *and* he is a wrestler so ‘speed’ isn’t a skill he has developed. So we didn’t stage the filming to work with top tier athletes.)

And I think this is a more effective way for you to learn how to progress/regress, modify and evolve the way you run your practices.

Here is a perfect example of why I think you will see the greatest benefits with the YSAS course:

In the agility DVD of CST, I teach that skill using primarily agility ladder drills and cone drills. There is nothing wrong with using these techniques, but as you learned from our teleseminar, these drills should supplement the skills we teach, not serve as the skills.

So I don’t think CST does a stellar job teaching the multidirectional component of speed.

On the other hand, in the YSAS course, Dave Jack bases all his instruction on the teaching of skill sets, progressions and regressions. He teaches you the general and specific movement patterns that generally and specifically apply to general and specific situations that field and court sport athletes of all ages will face in competitive situations.

He does an awesome job. Personally, I think he steals the show, though Dr. Brooks wrote a fascinating and detailed manual that you’ll learn a lot from.

Simply put, CST was filmed in the summer of 2004. YSAS was filmed in the summer of 2011. Here in 2011, the combination of myself, Dave Jack and Dr. Brooks flat out know a lot more than just I did back then.

Plus, I’d bet the farm that 2011 Latif would severely outcoach 2004 Latif.

And for that reason alone, I recommend the YSAS course over CST. I believe you will provide a better experience and help your athletes achieve the best results with this program.

I hope I’ve given you an honest, objective assessment of the two programs so you can make an informed decision.

When you’re ready to become a better speed coach, invest in the IYCA Youth Speed & Agility Specialist Certification Course.


Critical Skill for Team Sport Athletes

To succeed, athletes in team (field & court) sports must develop two skill sets:

1. Sport specific skill (how to play that specific sport)
2. Athletic  movement skill

But most team sport coaches only focus on sport specific skill, ignoring athletic development.

It doesn’t matter why, it only matters that most young athletes lack the ability to get themselves in and out of position to make the big play when it counts.

Because you work with these athletes, you have an opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives and on field success of these kids.

My friend, Dave Jack, is one of the best movement specialists in our industry. This summer, he and I ran a speed clinic for coaches, teaching them how we teach speed and agility to our young athletes.

I want to share a clip from that Closed Door session, where he showcases one of the most important movement skills you can teach your athletes.

Check it out:

A Critical Skill for Team Sport Athletes (Video)

Dave Jack  will be hosting a special teleseminar called ’7 Truths About Training Youth Speed and Agility’.

He’ll be covering 7 specific lessons about training speed that we’ve learned over the years and how these
lessons have fundamentally changed the way we coach.

If you like to stay on the cutting edge of how successful coaches are developing their athletes, you’ll want to be on this call!

The Most Important Word in Speed Training

I recently heard Dan Pfaff talk about acceleration being a complicated neuromuscular equation.

I recently heard Boo Schexnayder say acceleration is about finding the ‘resonant frequency of oscillary patterns’ in terms of developing and improving the efficiency of locomotive mechanics.

I recently heard Gary Winckler say, “90% of speed development is technique.”

I once heard Will Smith talk about understanding how the universe works by ‘studying the patterns.’

Well, I’ve been studying the patterns, and, in doing so, one fact has become overwhelmingly clear:

Our athletes will be faster when they develop this quality.

Our athletes will be more explosive and powerful when they develop this quality.

Our athletes will be on the board (instead of over and behind) and won’t trip over hurdles (or themselves) when they develop this quality.

Our athletes will consistently hit their times during tempo runs and race modeling sessions once they develop more of this quality.

So, if all I’ve said here is true, then what is the most important word in all of speed training?


Everything we do in practice is designed to improve the ability to express technique in order to positively influence performance. An athlete’s inability to express said technique simply boils down to lack of specific coordination.

Of course, I didn’t invent this concept. I heard Gary Winckler talk about it. Then I thought about it. Then I stole it. Now here we are.

Here’s an example. Last week I ran the exact same workout with two different athletes.

One was a 16 year old high schooler with a 200m PR of 26.1. The other was a 22 year old post collegiate with a 200m PR of 24.7.

The high schooler has been doing consistent technical work all summer and fall, going back and forth between me and another great sprints coach, Marc Mangiacotti. (He and I will be running a sprints clinic this summer, so, when they come, your sprinters will get to learn what we’re doing first hand…)

In our last session, she looked incredible. Her bad runs are now vastly superior to what good runs looked like in June. She can break down her own technique before I say anything which, to me, is a sign of wildly improved kinesthetic awareness and skill acquisition. Her confidence is light years ahead of where it was 6 months ago. I’m very proud of her and can’t wait to see her reap the rewards of her hard work.

The post collegiate, on the other hand, comes from a (Division I) college program that did absolutely no technical work, no speed work and sent 200m specialists out for 30 minute runs on a routine basis even in the middle of the competitive phase. She came from a good high school program (cough, cough), so that’s roughly the last time this athlete had good technical instruction (a 25.02 HS PR vs 24.71 collegiate PR is not a comforting improvement over the course of 4 years at the D-1 level).

Needless to say, this athlete was some sort of Hot Mess. She could feel it wasn’t right.

It wasn’t lack of effort or focus. And it sure wasn’t lack of ability. It was pure lack of coordination.

She lacked (‘lost’ might be a better word) the strength (coordination training under resistance), endurance (coordination training under event specific time constraints), speed (coordination training to express highest force in the least amount of time and resulting in optimal displacement) and mobility (coordination training to dynamically express forces through desired/required ranges of motion) to accelerate to top speed and maintain that velocity with any semblance of efficiency or consistency of execution.

Once she acquires the coordination that the high schooler currently possesses, I know one thing for sure, she won’t be grinding to dip under the times she ran when she was 16.

My point is pretty simple. If you want to run a 21st Century program, it’s not enough to just run fast in practice. As coaches we have to have our own process for solving the acceleration equation. And, just as importantly, we have to be able to help our athletes solve it themselves. Because we can’t cue them or engage in technical feedback once the gun goes off. Their success fundamentally depends on the ability to feel what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ and make corrections in real time, under the stress of competition and with 6-7 other athletes trying to beat them. Or with a crowd of people staring at them while they barrell down the runway.

It’s not enough to send kids into the weight room if you don’t have the same technical standards for a squat or clean as you do for coming out of blocks or doing phase work in the triple jump.

But if you reframe your training perspective with coordination being the ultimate goal and strength, speed, endurance and mobility being interdependent qualities, it will be easier to connect the dots between movements, event groups and specific skill development.

At your next practice, watch your athletes perform all the drills and exercises that make up their practice with this concept of ‘coordination as the ultimate goal’ in mind. It will be both liberating and overwhelming at the same time.


A ‘New Breed’ of Coach? (video)

I can talk about the importance of speed development in athletes until I’m blue in the face. Knowing that 53% of the people reading this have yet to invest in a resource from Athletes’ Acceleration tells me that most of you still aren’t sold.

Sold on the idea. Sold on me. Sold on my programs. Sold on something. And I completely understand that. Open minded skepticism is rarely a bad thing.

Earlier this summer, I was contacted by a producer from a Boston television station interested in doing a feature on the importance of training speed in today’s athlete, especially at the developmental level.

That segment aired this past Wednesday and I really had no idea what to expect. Since they told me they’d be interviewing several speed coaches, I didn’t know if I’d get anything more than a quick sound byte. By the looks of the video, they liked what they saw and heard…

Like I said, it’s one thing when I tell you how important this is for you and your athletes. You might take it with a grain of salt. But when a major market news station builds a segment around what you’re doing, you know you must be on to something.

So check out what they came up with…

Got questions or comments? Post them below and I’ll do my best to answer them.