If you strap on a helmet in the fall, hold a bat in the winter or cradle a lacrosse stick at any time you should be lacing up spikes in the spring.
This should seem obvious. After all, the quickest way to impress any coach is to be the quickest guy on the field, 40-Yard Dash, the diamond and you slide home for a home run or as your running down the field ready to shoot that ball in the goal. Running track will make you an all-around better athlete, improving your on-field performance in three ways.
1. You’ll Find Your Fastest Running Form
Nobody knows the ins and outs of speed like a track coach. After all, there aren’t many variables in track, you are running in a straight line. So one small blip in your form can make or break a race. Track coaches place huge emphasis on technique to maximize speed. Refining your technique on the track is a great way to make perfect running form second nature, so when game day comes on the gridiron, you’ll be able to run faster without having to think about it.
2. You’ll Build a Better “Burst”
Athletes who run track continually work on their starting stance, and with good reason: a runner’s speed “out of the blocks” has a lot of influence on their finishing time. An athlete can trim a tenth or even two-tenths of a second off their 40 time just by getting their start down cold.
Added bonus for footballers: the action of coming out of the starting blocks is very similar to getting off the line of scrimmage. Both require you to generate speed and power from a dead stop. So improving your “burst” at the starting line will improve your burst off the ball.
In addition, an often overlooked but very important skill in most sports is the ability to accelerate from half- to full-speed. Track teaches you to get to your top speed as quickly as possible. Common track drills, like Flying Starts, increase stride frequency and improve body control when transitioning to max speed.
3. You’ll Get More Speed with Less Effort
Most football players are all about force, running like bowling balls trying to knock pins down. Sprinters, on the other hand, look like they almost glide over the ground. A good track coach will teach you to relax your body and exert the minimal amount of force necessary to attain top speed. Not only will you run faster, you won’t be as exhausted after a play.