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Dan Pfaff: The Art of Coaching Speed (DIGITAL)


I truly believe coaching speed is an art.

At The 2018 Edition of The Seminar we had the absolute pleasure of welcoming Dan Pfaff to Richmond to discuss speed development in athletes. Dan starts out sharing with us his background so that we can understand where he is coming from as a coach, and how he got to where he is today based on those who have taught him both in a positive and negative way. Dan then discusses the importance of quality control and how he sees it as the future of practice and competition, including how we monitor and evaluate it. This leads him to the three tools in “science” that help us develop athletes and improve speed along with what are some things that we, as coaches, need to be aware of and consider with the information we take in and people we learn from.

Dan then shares with us the importance of modeling for speed and sprinting. He discusses how he looks at it both within a group and for the individual, why it’s important, and some guidelines for analysis to build these models. The next 12 minutes he dedicates to tearing apart some misnomers in sprinting and how we should truly look at speed with athletes. Evaluation of sprinting and what we need to do to “see motion” to better evaluate and develop our athletes, including a 5-minute film break down of a sprinter using the “what else where else” perspective to help “fix” that athlete and improve their performance.

The portions of sprinting is the next topic he covers and this starts with an in depth break down of the start. This includes the KPI’s that he has for acceleration and top end speed mechanics. Each of which Dan shares with us video and still photo break down of his athletes, what they looked at in each example, the “issues” that were needed to correct, and how they use a “Mailbox System” when they’re working with larger groups to individualize as best as they can while keeping some conformity within the group.

This is one of the best talks we have had at The Seminar, and dives deep down into not only “myths” but also into truths that Dan has seen in over 45 years of coaching some of the fastest human beings to ever walk the planet. If you want to find better ways to look at your athletes, how you develop speed with them, and how you can evaluate what you’re doing better I couldn’t recommend this talk enough for you.

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