Sprint Training Methods in NCAA Division III Collegiate Soccer Players
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The production of various speed-enhancement devices has increased in order produce varied high-speed actions impacting performance and actions requiring maximal speed, acceleration, or agility. The purpose of this study was to compare and assess the effects of assisted sprint training (AST), resisted sprint training (RST), and free sprint training (FST) on kinematic factors in NCAA Division III collegiate soccer players (n = 37) during the acceleration and maximal velocity phase of a 36.6 meter (m) sprint. The study determined if differences exist between AST, RST, and FST in enhancing sprint time. The measurements of stride length and stride frequency was assessed as important kinematic variables affecting sprint time. The subjects, using their assigned training modality, underwent a 6-week, 12-session training program. The training progression started with 10 meters (m) and ended with 60 m sprints. Sprints were recorded by video and digitized using biomechanical analysis software. Pre- and post-tests for all three methods were compared using two-way repeated measures ANOVAs and Scheffe post- hoc tests were used to determine any differences among types of training groups. Significant improvement in split and interval times (9.1 m, 18.3 m, and 36.6 m) and stride lengths from the pre- to post-tests were indicated, but there were no differences in improvement among the training groups. Therefore, even though the use of RST and AST programs incorporating the bungees decreased sprint times in a 36.6 m run, it was not significant as compared to FST. Sprint speed development may be based on so many factors that it can be highly difficult to pinpoint where and how training throughout different stages of a sprint optimizes improved performance. It is important for coaches and strength and conditioning specialists to fully recognize specific ways to induce neuromuscular adaptations for sprinters.