These two factors help increase an athlete’s speed. Stride frequency is how quickly an athlete can move his/her legs. Stride length is the distance an athlete can travel with each step. While both factors improve speed, training them requires different training methods.
Stride frequency (SF) is developed more easily when an athlete is young. When we are young, our nervous systems are underdeveloped and moldable. That being said, this does not mean that an athlete can not increase his/her SF when he/she gets older. It just means that the athlete will have a harder time increasing SF. Since frequency is very CNS (central nervous system) driven, exercises that increase muscle reactivity will help. For example sprint mechanics (arm movement, torso/hip and ankle angle) , speed ladders, and plyometric exercises should be implemented into an athlete’s program to improve SF.
Stride length (SL) is the more important of the two, in my opinion, because it can be improved at any age. There are several ways to improve SL but increasing an athlete’s relative strength and mobility are the most important. SL is displayed more prominently in mature athletes because these athletes are usually stronger. The amount of force they can apply to the ground to propel their body forward shows how much strength they have in each leg. Mobility is also a major factor in SL because if the athlete’s muscles are tight and he/she cannot extend at the hips, knees, or ankles then he/she will lose distance and ultimately be slower.