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athletic support by eli cranor Athletic Support: What if I can’t afford private speed camps?
May 23, 2021

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Dear Athletic Support: In your last column, I saw where you mentioned young athletes attending speed training sessions. I looked into those and saw that they can get pretty costly. Do you have any specific drills or advice on how I could train my son at home in order to get him faster?

— Need 4 Speed

Dear Speed: As the old saying goes, speed kills. It is the single biggest determiner for a young athlete’s success, and for the most part, kids either have it or they don’t.

That said, there are a few drills you can do to give your child an advantage in the speed department.

The first thing you should focus on is flexibility. That’s right. It’s not just about running. Go through a series of stretches prior to every workout. You really want to focus on the hamstrings during this warmup. They can make — or break — a young athlete’s speed.

Once your son is good and warm, think resistance! That’s the secret to building speed. The body has to get used to working harder than it has in the past in order to get faster.

One good resistance workout is running bleachers. Just go to your local football stadium and have your son sprint up the bleachers (or the steps). He can walk back down and catch his breath. Remember: you’re not trying to work on stamina. So your son should be fully recovered before he runs again. In other words, give his breathing time to return to normal.

You can also have him run with a parachute, or have him do high knee kicks while wearing bands. Bands are basically like huge rubber bands. You can order them pretty cheap online. You can even put one around his waist and apply resistance by holding onto the band as he sprints across the field!

In the end, flexibility and resistance are the pillars of speed gains. Once you’ve nailed those two parts of his training regimen, feel free to use your creativity and improvise. The main thing to remember is you’re looking for short bursts of maximum output. An athlete does not get faster when he is tired. So be sure to allow plenty of time between sprints, and you’ll start seeing results soon!

Call For Questions:
It’s that time of year again, the time when I have to use valuable column space to ask you — my valued and trusted reader — to take a moment and send me some questions.

Questions don’t have to be long. A couple of sentences are all I need. And I will always work with you to make sure it’s anonymous. That seems to be the biggest concern for most folks when they write in. But remember, I always use a made up name at the end of each question. I’ll even change some of the information if I feel like it might give away too much.

I’m guessing some of my readers don’t have kids involved in athletics, and that’s fine too. You can still send in questions!

If you enjoy reading my column each week, please remember it cannot go on without questions. So send ‘em on!

Previous columns:

Quarterback lacks speed
Should pro athletes talk politics?
How to take a hit
Wrestling in college, what’s the point?
Removal of mask requirement could cost us games
Overachieving daughter stinks at sports
Why are we playing all the small schools?
Freshmen don’t make varsity, usually
Kids have changed, haven’t they?
Esports and disc golf bigger than football?
Little pitchers have big ears
Pregame music offensive
Fouls in girls basketball
Red Shirting
Coach makes political post
7th grade girls basketball woes
Multi-million-dollar buyouts don’t make sense
Private schools have the upper hand
Best of 2020

Athletic Support Columns 2020

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


books make brainz taste badOkay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

Eli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author


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