Speed is necessary in many sports and the ability to generate it quickly is a coveted skill. If you're a track and field sprinter, sprint swimmer, speed cyclist or speed skater, for example, speed is the most important part of your event. Speed is also an important factor in other sports such as boxing, soccer, football, basketball and hockey. To help determine your progress and to find out whether you're getting faster, you'll need to test yourself on different types of speed.
An example of a sprint test is the 40 yard dash. The 40 yard dash is a measurement to help determine a college player's sprinting speed. It is also considered to be the most prestigious test at the annual NFL scouting combine. The fastest player in the 2010 combine was wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who ran it in 4.28 seconds. To perform this, simply pick a starting point and use a measuring device to mark a finish line 40 yards away. Sprint as fast as you can from start to finish. Have a friend time you with a stopwatch and work to beat that time the next time you run it. Try to use a three- or four-point stance from the starting line. A three-point stance has both feet on the ground and one hand down whereas all four limbs are on the ground for a four-point stance.
Another way to measure your speed is a 10 x 5 m shuttle. You'll need cones, a stopwatch and measuring tape to measure 5 meters between cones. Take the two cones and have 5 meters between them. Sprint as fast as you can to the opposite cone and back to the start. You'll go back and forth five times. This is not only a measure of speed but agility as well.
In this drill you'll need a 1 meter ruler and a friend to hold it for you. Your thumb and index finger need to be spread apart. Your friend holds the ruler between these two fingers and you need to have your thumb and index finger level with the 0 cm marker on the ruler. When your friend drops the ruler, catch it as quickly as you can. Your friend records how much distance is between the ruler's bottom and the thumb's top. This helps indicate how fast you reacted after the ruler was dropped.
Sports Specific Tests
If you are a hockey player, swimmer or baseball player there are sport specific tests you can do to measure your speed. Use a stopwatch for all these tests. Swimmers can swim 100 m which, is two pool-lengths in an Olympic-size pool. A hockey player can start at the center ice red line and when the timer says go, skate a full-speed lap around the rink until you return to the starting point. A baseball player can monitor his speed by running full speed from home plate to first base.