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What is a good exercise/training method to improve cross court speed? Specifically in mind is netball, but could be applied to other court sports.

With that said, in particular I'm looking at improving acceleration and short burst speed for competitive play.

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With cross court I assume you mean the speed with which you can run, to get to the ball? It would be helpful if you explained your current training program, so we can suggest where you could change things to work on this. Its also helpful if you add any information you found yourself, but didn't know what to make of –  Ivo Flipse May 28 '11 at 9:29
    
Mmmmm...current training...yes....none at the moment. It was more of a question on where to start... –  Albort May 28 '11 at 10:54
    
That's not a problem @Albort, but it would help if you clearly stated what your goal is, do you plan to play competitively or recreational? And is there any specific reason you think you need to work on this? –  Ivo Flipse May 28 '11 at 11:09
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2 Answers

If you are dealing with racquet sports, you really need to be able to sprint quickly in very short bursts of no more than 15 yards (often shorter) at a time with the ability to recover and change direction quickly.

With that said, going out and sprinting as hard as you can in a straight line for 40 yards (like the much ballyhoo'ed speed test for American football) isn't going to be very important for you.

What you need to focus on first step quickness (getting you going in correct direction as fast as possible) and hip explosion (makes sure you achieve maximum acceleration once you are moving in a particular direction). Improving your acceleration to your top speed is going to be more important than increasing your top speed.

For actual running drills to improve this I'd recommend:

Those are popular in American football but would just as applicable to racquet sports.

As for lifts, you want anything that encourages explosion from an athletic position - box jumps, squats, cleans, dead lifts. Make sure those are part of your lifting routines.

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You want to sprint faster?

In addition to interval/running training, you probably want to start lifting weights for stronger muscle. In particular hamstrings, quads and calves, but core and upper body strength is important as well.

I always recommend Stronglifts 5x5 for beginners, and I'm sure that should suit you well too.

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