I still remember the first time I heard the term "foot speed"…
I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school and just beginning to start formulating my CRAZY dreams of one day dominating the high school basketball scene, and maybe…just MAYBE, if enough things worked out, playing college basketball.
I had just hired a local basketball trainer to put me through a few workouts, to learn a bunch of new drills and to figure out how to best train for basketball (who knew that I'd eventually become well-known for this stuff…I just wanted to be really damn good at basketball!).
We had just finished a tough part of the workout…it combined lots of defensive sliding, back pedaling…basically, lots of change of direction and foot speed training.
I grunted through it, exhausted but motivated and after the last set, went over to the drinking fountain to get a quick splash of some good "H2O".
After filling my body with enough water to fill up a good-sized backyard pool, I made my way back to the court and it was then and there that my basketball trainer told me something that, even today, YEARS later, I can't forget:
"Alex, your foot speed is HORRIBLE. You're never gonna be good at this until you fix that."
Wow, thanks Coach, really supportive :-)
But, you know what? He was totally right. My foot speed was horrible. My feet were slow, my coordination was, well, uncoordinated and my quickness was something like the quickness of an obese elephant.
Sure, I could run all day, but when it came to speed, quickness and foot speed, I stunk it up.
And that was not only the first time I heard the term foot speed, but it was also the first I had the self-awareness that I had almost none of it!
So, what did I do? Obviously, I wasn't going to take such disrespect for long, so I went to WORK. I trained, researched and coached my way to "foot speed fantasy land". My feet got so fast that at my senior year basketball team "end-of-season" party (where I was team captain by the way), of the few awards I won, the one I remember most was "Fastest Feet EVER".
I also eventually made it college basketball, largely because of how fast and quick my feet were. So, how'd I do it? How'd I get so much faster and so much quicker, when most athletes NEVER get any faster or quicker during their athletic careers?