To anyone who can assist me:
I have put together a compilation of videos of me running the 60 yd dash from 3 different angles, and three different starts and different start styles. I am a baseball player, and in baseball your 60 time determines the college that you can attend, as I am an outfielder. My situation is this: when I get on the field and play and run the bases, everyone tells me, “Wow, you are fast,” and “You’re the fastest guy on the field.” Yet my 60 time does not show this. However, my home-to-first time does, as I have to beat the throw (Scouts wrote that I run well “underway” and my home-to-first time makes my 60 time questionable).
It’s clearly my start. I was told that I could cut 3-4 tenths off of my time if I would change my start. The clock goes at first movement. It’s almost as if I sit there for a few tenths and then run. The start is very slow. I have all of Charlie’s books, and I went through a GPP phase prior to the season, as well as 8 months training with a sprinter who will run in the Olympic Trials in San Diego this summer.
Thanks so much, Look forwards to lots of commentary/Tips.
I want to fix this before June 1 if it’s a small muscle memory/technique thing so I can run well in front of an important coach. If it’s a strength thing, then I can’t change it.
You turn your body completely straight before you ever actually push on the ground. It looks like you’re trying to turn your lateral start into a linear start. You’ve got to push off that foot and turn, not turn and push.
It’s handy being able to watch your vidoes frame-by-frame by using the slide bar cos it gives you the opurtunity to see what might be going wrong.
I think your biggest problem is a lack of triple extension. By triple extension, in case you don’t know, i mean the hip, knee and ankle joints extending together. At toe off (the point your foot leaves contact at the end of the push) it is fine but if you look when you are driving, the hip and knee are extending and your ankle is flexing to the point where your heel touches the ground. So your ankle joint is absorbing the force you are putting in with your upper legs and glutes, so instead of propelling your self down the track you are pushing your heel back to the ground.
You can see it clearly in video 1, 3 & 6. I don’t know if the problem is lack of calve strength (possibly not as you are able to extend at toe off) or that you are not aware of it. It also appears to effect your full speed runinng causing your hips to drop and prolong foot contact time.
All sprinters will experience some ankle flex the key is to minimise it, during the recovery phase of the stride (as you bring your trail leg through) you need to dorsiflex (pull the big toe up to the shin) this will preload the calves and achillles tendon, as you make foot contact you need to pull the foot down as you ‘step over’ with the other leg. You will need to conciously drill this into your head untill it becomes natural. To get a feel for it, and improve strength it is probably best to use some forms of skipping/bounding as part of your warm-ups.
Also one last thing, if strength is permitting i would try to drive your knee into your chest more at the start as you push off.
This is so interesting, to see someone who plays baseball apply these methods. Even though I was a great basestealer in Venezuela - never got caught, led my league in my last year there - well it helped that my team was crummy so we always faced the other teams’ 2nd or 3rd rate pitchers, so stealing against those was like taking candy from a baby - I see that I could have been THAT much better with the knowledge, strength and acceleration I now have. If at that moment I was stealing 2nd at will and 3rd easily, I think with these skills I’d be so far on my way to the bases the catcher wouldn’t bother with throwing most of the time! And how about all those times I didn’t go for home to not risk one of the few potential runs my team was going to score!
Anyway, about you. How are the 60’s they’re taking timed? Do you use a frontal start (ie like sprinting) or sideways (like on the bases)? Your sideways start seems to have a problem.
As has been pointed it seems like you come out of slow motion off the “set” position. It’s like you turn your body then run. I can remember seeing some highlights of Rickey Henderson, Otis Nixon or others when I was young, the back foot (the one that starts facing 1st base let’s say) is already recovering and going for the next step by when they’re done turning their body. I can’t remember because it’s been 4 years and at the moment I payed no attention to my technique, but I think what I used as key was a reaction across my body. When I was about to go I’d start the reaction at the ankle of my back foot and have the reaction cross my body like a big shock towards the other side, I can remember that feeling clearly, that momentary rush when starting on the way to the base. Of course one thing is feeling and another is what was happening, I never saw myself on video or was aware enough to know what my body was doing apart from getting as quickly as possible to the base!
Alan made a good observation re : your foot contact, you’re striking completely flat footed and spend a ton of time on the ground.
Maybe for baseball purposes a quicker first step at the expense of full extension and flicking the arm out ala Ben Johnson might be better as one needs to turn the whole body 90 degrees. It might be more of a priority to get momentum going the right way quickly then applying correct sprint mechanics from that first - inefficient - step. To apply correct sprint mechanics one needs to turn then extend then you finally get going. I think the first step of full extension should be the 2nd in a baseball start. What do you think?
I wish I had some baseball videos to study, to analyze the mechanics of some base stealing great, this is an issue that interests me a lot. There surely must be sprinting concepts that can be applied to vastly better running in between bases and in the outfield.
The 60’s that they take are laser timed from first movement and it is a requirement that you begin sideways as if stealing a base. People can cheat however, as you can open your hips up. You must look ahead and not at where you are running when setting up, though (sideways). One of my open-hipped starts displays this.
What I read is this: push off, then turn. This will be done with the front foot. Dorsiflex more than I am, as I am running flat footed at times as a result. Also focus on driving the knees more.
Can someone explain this for me:
“Maybe for baseball purposes a quicker first step at the expense of full extension and flicking the arm out ala Ben Johnson might be better as one needs to turn the whole body 90 degrees. It might be more of a priority to get momentum going the right way quickly then applying correct sprint mechanics from that first - inefficient - step. To apply correct sprint mechanics one needs to turn then extend then you finally get going. I think the first step of full extension should be the 2nd in a baseball start. What do you think?”
“All sprinters will experience some ankle flex the key is to minimise it, during the recovery phase of the stride (as you bring your trail leg through) you need to dorsiflex (pull the big toe up to the shin) this will preload the calves and achillles tendon, as you make foot contact you need to pull the foot down as you ‘step over’ with the other leg. You will need to conciously drill this into your head untill it becomes natural. To get a feel for it, and improve strength it is probably best to use some forms of skipping/bounding as part of your warm-ups.”
I got that I am supposed to dorsiflex when stepping over more. I understood stepping over. I did not totally focus on dorsiflexion. Also pulling the foot down, explain this. A-Skips/B-Skips are pertinent drills for this?
But the most important thing of all of these posts is to push off, then turn. My inability to do this before has slowed me down the most. Correct?
Thanks, look forward to hearing back.
Will post improved videos. Need to hear from anyone available before practicing.
I still am not getting the dorsiflexion. Should I try relaxing and loosening up my body more before starting (I say this because you can hear my feet making noise on the track). What else can I do to improve this?
Have a look at this link of Jon Drummond starting out of the blocks. What does he do that I do not? I see keeping his head down as well as never allowing his heel to touch the ground. However, it does seem like he starts by pushing off closer to his toes.
If it’s on first movement, you actually shift your weight to your back foot which causes a delay in your start rather than starting with your weight on both feet . This is probably an attempt to utilize elastic energy at the start but this really slows your start very much like a false step. Make sure you are pushing off of both feet (meaning that keep your weight distributed evenly over both legs). If you are one-leg dominant in competition there’s always going to be a brief mechanical delay from you shifting your weight to that leg and then pushing off of it.
It almost looks like your too wide on your start. You definitely need to relax more and breath out as soon as you explode away from 1st base. I would know. I played semipro-baseball for 3 years. I was recruited just to steal bases.