acceleration problem

Charlie, after taking some video of the sprinter I work with, I realize that during early acceleration his foot hits ahead of his hips and not under. I have him focus on arms only during acceleration, so I don’t know why this is happening. The block positions are ok(arms straight down, foot behind plum line, etc) and strength is not lacking (300lb clean). Also, it seems like his hip don’t rise much as he accelerates.
How could I go about fixing this?

pump pump

Starting drills where he isn’t thinking about anything but getting to the 10m or 20m line as fast as possible. ie., laying on his stomach with nose touching ground, BANG! Or, I use a medicine ball, get the athlete to squat with the ball, and explode up and throw the ball as far as they can and then chase after it.

Herb, I did all of the above. They help for the first two steps, but not after. Sometimes his first or second step is so far behind his hips that it causes his torso to drop,(not a good thing, but better than landing in front) but steps 3,4,5… are all jacked up. I don’t want to tell him to place the feet under the hips because I am trying to avoid the whole forebrain thing.
Btw, thanks for the reply.

How is he moving his arms? It seems as though he is thrusting them back instead of keeping them underneath himself. The thrusting back motion (elbows too high in behind him), will cause his torso to drop down.

His arms are good. His torso is not a problem, it only drops when that first or second step is too far behind (not something that happens often). Block clearance is good and so is step 1 and 2. After step two it seem that his hips stop comming up(flat,no air time) and he is just falling on his feet (in front of the hips/COM).

My best 30m ish sprint distance reps are when I focus on a piston action with my legs. You don’t want the leg to open up to much or the feet will land in front of c.o.m. The only thing with this is that I have to be more carefull with the transition phase aftewards as that is when the legs should unwind and open up a little more.

I get the impression that during the first 20 meters the LOWER hamstrings should not relax to much so that the lower leg doesn’t open to far. Niether should the lower ham tense “to” much in this stage by comparison to later stages becuase you don’t want the foot to tuck up particularly high during the earlier parts of the acceleration phase.


I am just shooting off suggestions here. I know you have probably already tried most of this stuff. How about taking the blocks away and have him do standing/falling starts for a while. Sometimes it is a nervous system thing where he is strong enough, fast enough, but just doesn’t have the rhythm. The angle from a standing start will be easier to manage in that sense as far as getting that stepping over feeling. I took the blocks away from my one athlete for a couple of weeks until he got a certain something correct and then put him back into blocks.

Have you looked at Hill Running as Charlie mentions in his GPP DVD?

And, sometimes, if you focus on something else the problem goes away on its own.

Here is another most of the time useless drill that can sometimes help with foot contact. Get the athlete leaning against a wall, and in the position shown, mark off a spot on the ground, and then get them to alternate feet for 5 seconds and rest, then repeat. Just tell them, “Down, down, down, down.”:

Re: Goose2, What is your working definition of “piston like”. Some people describe it as having a low heel recovery, and others say is about not letting the lower leg fling out(but allow for ahigher heel recovery).
Re: Herb, I did take him out the blocks and tried the falling starts for a while (maybe, we’re comming up with the same ideas because we keep eating at “CF’S RESTAURANT” all the time :smiley: ) His falling starts were worse than the block starts, he was landing ahead of his COM from step 1. I know his idea about acceleration is wrong somewhere, but I am hoping I can fix it in a indirect way.

Try getting a second set of eyes in there to take a look. Maybe that person will be able to spot something you never thought about.

[QUOTE=THEONE]Re: Goose2, What is your working definition of “piston like”. Some people describe it as having a low heel recovery, and others say is about not letting the lower leg fling out(but allow for ahigher heel recovery).

Not letting the lower leg fling out AND low heel recovery.