I want to run faster to improve my sports performance, but some of my friends say you're born with a maximum running speed. Is that true, and if not, what can I do to get quicker?
Sprinters are made, not born. All athletes can get faster. Speed is nothing more than a product of power and neuromuscular technique, which most of us recognize as “technique.”Squats and power cleans will help build that explosive power you need for optimal sports performance. Jumping exercises -- single, double and alternate legs -- are also important. These plyometrics will wake up your nervous system. And of course, you should get out and start running but not necessarily in circles. I recommend sprinting up short, steep hills or while pulling a tire: tie it around your waist with a rope so the tire drags behind you, then do three sprints of 20 yards. Rest two minutes between each set. (You’ll need it!) Gradually increase the length and number of your “resisted” intervals, and see how fast you start burning down the court or the base paths as a result.
Loren Seagrave, founder of Velocity Sports Performance, has coached more than 50 Olympic and World Championship medalists.