This Special Topic Issue for the Strength and Conditioning Journal (SCJ) is on speed and agility. Over the course of my previous athletic career (D.J.S.), I often heard sport coaches say, “You cannot teach speed.” I never thought this was true, but I did not participate in track, so I did not have a sport coach who could technically teach me how to sprint better. In addition, I never had a sport coach who was exceptional at teaching me the most effective ways to change directions. Therefore, I did what I could to run fast and make defensive plays.
Once I decided to be a baseball coach, I was determined to learn as much as I could about becoming an excellent coach through my formal education and practical experiences working with other knowledgeable baseball and sports performance coaches. At that time, I became a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. By reading articles and books, watching video tapes and DVDs, going to conferences, and then, later in my career, learning from some outstanding track coaches and sports performance coaches, I truly learned how to design and teach the skills necessary to enhance an athlete's speed and agility.
This special issue provides you with a collection of articles written by top practitioners in the field of strength and conditioning that will help you better prepare the athletes you train for speed and agility. In this issue, you can read 5 articles related to linear sprinting covering such topics as various resistance training methods and sprint performance, attentional focus and cues for speed development, and mechanical limitations to sprinting and biomechanical recommendations. Furthermore, you will see 3 articles related to agility, such as valid ways to measure change of direction and agility, cognitive training to enhance agility performance, and a training model for the prevention and rehabilitation of anterior cruciate ligament injury. Finally, there are 2 articles that address both speed and agility. One discusses the speed and agility needs of baseball players and makes recommendations for sport-specific drills, whereas the second article describes postactivation potentiation and linear and change of direction speed.
As guest editors, Dr. Jay Dawes and I would like to thank all the authors for this issue. Moreover, we thank the individuals who reviewed each article. This work takes place behind the scenes, requires great knowledge of the topic(s), takes time to do a thorough and thoughtful review, and often goes unrecognized. Without the dedication of the authors and the reviewers to the NSCA, this issue could not have been completed. We thank Dr. Jeff Chandler, the Editor-in-Chief of the SCJ, for his guidance and support throughout the entire publication process. In addition, we thank Managing Editor Britt Chandler for editorial support and assistance. We hope that you enjoy reading the articles in this issue and hope that they help you further your knowledge and ability to train those who need to improve their speed and agility.