IMG Academy held its first-ever speed camp the week of June 18-22. The camp, led by Performance Coach Kevin Heiberger, was designed for participants to âget a wide variety of different skills that will increase one's acceleration and speed dynamics.â
Each day of the camp focused on a specific component of speed including acceleration, starts, maximum velocity, multi-direction movement, and advanced multi-direction movement. In addition, participants took part in a variety of exercises including sled work, hill training, physical conditioning and pool regeneration. These exercises were chosen to help athletes reach their full potential and because they applied to a wider array of sports, fitting most closely to the structure of the speed camp in which Coach Kevin states that âis made for all sports, not just track and field. It is multiple skill sets for multiple sports.â The speed campers were a testament to the variety of sports that IMG Academy hosts, with their participation in athletics varying from football to cross country.
Coach Kevin's direct teaching approach helped campers improve their speed by adjusting their running form and enhancing their technique.
"The Speed Camp is very application-based, meaning that you're going to be doing a lot of movement," Heiberger said. "It is a lot of teaching in which you are trying to re-program campers' basic motor abilities to run efficiently.â
To help him accomplish this hands-on style of learning, he incorporated the use of video for campers to see themselves practicing those skills. All of the campers were in agreement regarding the importance of using video-replay for understanding what they were doing correctly and, on the other hand, what they needed to adjust.
âThe film work allowed me to see what I was doing wrong and how to fix it," said Cody Stevens, an 18-year-old football player from Sarasota.
The campers also agreed that the camp was beneficial due to the education on speed training that they received. Fabiana Scionti, a fifteen year old track and cross country runner from Houston, Texas was one to comment on the growth and knowledge of her performance that she had gained from the camp.
âAs a long distance runner, everything that I have learned from the speed camp is going to help me not only with my starts, but also my finishes," Scionti said. "It can help me shave off up to 20 seconds.â
From her experience at the Athletic & Personal Development program's speed camp, she has taken away an understanding of how to better her performance in her competitive meets back home. She is now able to analyze her techniques and implement the necessary improvements on her own. From the week spent training with Coach Kevin, Scionti also understands the role that core strength plays in running. She explains how âthere is a point where you run and your legs give out and you rely on your arms. Your core is important in maintaining that same stamina and performance.â Now knowing that core strength has a strong role in her performance, she is motivated to continue seeking improvement in this area when she returns home.
Overall, the campers demonstrated significant improvement with an agreement that that they could not have done it without the coaching, and patience, of Coach Kevin. Sixteen year old track runner and basketball player Zachary Leyton of Naples Florida exclaims that Coach Kevin âdid a fantastic job with the way he explains thing and gets through to you. He explains every specific part of the technique so that you understand it.â
âCoach Kevin makes you go through it until you actually get it," Scionti said. "If you don't get something, he goes back to where we started and the point where we learned it at.â