Athlete speed training should be a part of any serious training program because speed is considered to be the heart and soul of just about any sport. Speed and agility training is not easy, and it is a training regimen that must be kept up constantly to do any good.
Basic Sprints - These are an important part of any athlete speed training program. Set lines or cones about 20 yards apart from each other, and work sprinting back and forth between them. Vary your athletes' speed by issuing commands via whistle. Changing sprinting speed as they hit the line helps the body exercise its own reaction time, leading to better agility.
The Snake Sprint - This is another very common athlete speed training technique. Set up 10 cones in a straight line, leaving a yard of space in between each one. Instruct your athletes to weave between each cone. Start them off slow and build to higher speeds over each circuit pass. To practice agility, change the number of cones in the pattern. Use 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 for example, so they have to think quickly when cones they pass through on the way there is different on the way back.
The Shadow - This is an interesting training technique designed for pairs of athletes. The concept is to have one athlete lead the other over a large training area, changing their speed and direction at random. The person following must shadow the other athlete as closely and exactly as possible. Being able to react to another athlete's movements in as little time as possible is essential in many sports, and can lead to your athletes having a very large advantage over others.
Up Hill Sprints - Nothing is quite as important to athlete speed training as the first few strides from a dead stop. By starting at the bottom of a hill and quickly sprinting to the top, the body will build important muscles to add power and acceleration to those first few steps. Various resistance parachutes and bands can also be used for the same effect on flat land.
As you can see, speed and agility training come in many forms and must be worked on constantly to achieve the goals you set for yourself or your athletes. Do not let yourself get caught on the slow end of the game. Keep your athlete speed training up, and let the results speak for themselves.