Dear Coach: I know there are many exercises I can do to improve my strength, but are there any drills I can do to improve speed?
Dear Poke: Never fear; a lethargic time in the 40 can be lowered. Mike Boyle, a former strength and conditioning coach for the Boston Bruins who has also prepped about 30 players for the NFL scouting combine, says there are three components to improving speed. "The primary thing is lower-body strength, so that means doing lots of squats," says Boyle. Next, you need to increase your legs' power output, so try plyometric exercises such as hops done from a squatting position and multidirectional jumps. Finally, build from five-and 10-yard sprints to full-speed 40s and 50s. "Many people think running longer distances will help your sprinting," says Boyle. "It doesn't, so concentrate on the dashes."
Dear Coach: I've played basketball my whole life—in high school, college and now in a rec league three nights a week. My wife says I play too much. How do I get her to see what sports mean to me?
Dear Hoop: "Basketball is not the issue," says Fred Crowell, a former marriage counselor and Division I coach. "Your wife feels she's not getting your attention and that something out there is more important to you than she is." Show you're receptive to her needs by indulging her interests—sacrifice a few nights at the gym to take her to a play or a movie. "Your wife might welcome your playing if she were getting what she wanted otherwise."