Effective Way to Format a Training Session


I’m starting with something different today. 

Let’s try a thought exercise. 

Take a minute, and in your head map out how you’d format a speed training session if you only had 30 minutes. 

Seriously, try it. 

What would yours look like? 

If you’re running out of time in this hypothetical speed session, then today’s email is going to be especially helpful for you. 

Last week, I talked about the 4 myths of speed training (catch up here if you missed it). 

One of the myths is that “I don’t have time to train speed.” 

This was also a question that was asked on the webinar that Tony Villani and I did with the Universal Speed Rating a few weeks ago. (Access Recording Here)

I loved Tony’s response to the question, which was basically that just because Speed is a priority, doesn’t mean it has to take the most time.

I added that most of the year our speed work only takes 15-30 minutes. 

A clip of our answers was shared on social and I got so many DM’s asking about this so today I’m going to expand on how we format our sessions. 

Here’s the exact clip I’m referring to for reference: Link


How I Format a Speed Session 

Before I go over the specific order, I want to discuss priority.

For youth athletes in offseason training, here are the 3 buckets of speed listed in priority: 

  1. Stimulus 
  2. Physical 
  3. Technical 

To review the 3 Buckets of Speed, remember: 

Stimulus = Sprinting at high speeds

Physical = Resisted sprinting & jumping

Technical = Drills, technique, etc. 

Stimulus is at the top for a reason. Plays back into what Tony Villani said in the clip I shared from the webinar: 

Programming it at least twice a week when you have fresh legs.” 

Athletes need to sprint. 

Despite stimulus being #1 in priority, that doesn’t mean it’s how I order the sessions. 

Here’s how I’d break down offseason training for youth athletes with various amounts of time: 

If you have 15 minutes to train, I’d spend 5 minutes on technical qualities. I’d loop this in with the warmup. A-series, switches, and other technical drills can be done in a short amount of time. 

Then I’d spend the remaining 10 minutes on the stimulus and physical qualities. 

Get a couple of runs in at max velocity followed by a few jumps or resisted runs toward the end. 

If you have 30 minutes, it’s a similar structure: 

10 minutes of technical, built-in with the warmup. 

10 minutes hitting the stimulus, or runs at max velocity. 

10 minutes focused on physical qualities. Jumps and resisted runs. 

If that’s the only time you get with your athletes, it’s enough to help them get faster. 

If you do have more time after your speed work, that’s where we’re able to add in different change of direction work, decel work, etc. But the speed work itself we typically only spend 15-30 minutes. 

There can be other factors here that play a role. But generally speaking, especially at the youth level, 15-30 minutes is plenty of time to fit in your speed training.