Bad Mechanics! Please Help.

I’ve never had naturally good sprinting form but I cant quite figure out whats wrong. I’m training for soccer so I’m mainly concerned with acceleration. I uploaded a short slow mo clip of my 20m start so people could take a look at it and hopefully something (or a few things) will stand out.

At least one of the links should work…

I realised since that video was shot that I’m starting with head held too high and have corrected that problem. Another possible problem is stepover height, I always feel a lot of strain on my hip flexors. I occasionally try to emphasize arm drive or knee drive but I cant seem to improve stepover height by thinking about it.

I’m wondering if form will improve as strength and flexibility improve or are there any specific drills I could do to correct any of the problems?

Any help would be appreciated.

I’ll have Charlie take a look at this for you…

others…please save your comments

Thanks mate that’d be awesome.

If the links above dont work try this…

It would be cool to hear Charlies thoughts but I’m sure he’s a busy guy and I need some feedback asap really. Anyone else?

We will do a quick one for you in light of Charlie’s current schedule.

Note to ALL: We are the only people doing video analysis work here.

It looks like you could benefit from some strength work (legs & core). Alot of the people I work with remedy a ton of minor technical issues (especially acceleration issues) after several months of solid strength training.

I don’t like to harp on technical specifics but I do see a few ( or one) key point.

The main thing I notice is that your first step (right foot) is very vertical so you’re getting a “pulling” action on your first few steps. For your first few steps, try to get your shins like / instead of |. Think push, push, push. Taking a slightly shorter first step (or first couple of steps) may help with this.

It would also be helpful if the video clip was slightly longer.

Hopefully Charlie will be able to comment soon.

Charlie is unavailable at the moment. Can you answer a few questions and then I will comment accordingly?

How old are you? How long have you been sprinting? What sort of program have you been on in the past (sprinting, weights, plyos etc.)? Why are you sprinting (for track or another sport)?

Generally, your head positining and arm focus (right out of your start) need to be modified a bit. Everything else should fall into place in time after the start has been taken care of.

Looking at the video I have a few questions-

Any neck problems or pain?

Any low back problems or pain?

Any problems in the SI (Sacro Illiac) joints on either side?

Any problems with either hip?

Any prior foot problems?

Where do you live?

Have you ever seen a chiropractor?

Include any info on past injuries-

I’m 18, played soccer on and off since 10, specific sprint training only a year or 2 (on and off). Weight training for 3 or 4 years, serious power training (plyos etc) for about 2 years. Weight 175. Lifts are parrallel squat 350, clean 210, bench 210. Dont really have any times but I remember doing 50m last year in about 7s when my form was even worse. Sprinting mainly for soccer but considering taking track more seriously.

You suggesting I look like an injured wreck? lol. Only things I can think of are slightly tight lower back muscles and a slight foot problem a while ago caused by a verruca but nothing serious. I live in Yorkshire (UK).

No not an injured wreck but a few things caught my eye on the video.

If the hip flexors and low back are tight or not functioning properly you will not be able to get complete extension in acceleration as is evident in the video.

If you have an ART provider in your area they can do wonders for getting your hip flexors functioning properly.

I’d check into a good Sports Massage therapist to get the low back loosened up

With proper therapy the step over height will take care of itself

Please can you expand on this?

These two replies seem to contradict each other. Surely if I took a shorter steps during acceleration I would be even further from full extension?

No, they’re different. What I’m talking about is where your foot is planting underneath you. You always want full extension.

Attached is a photo showing what I’m talking about. The leg with the black dot is kinda what you’re doing, the leg with the red dot is what I’m suggesting. Notice the red dot guy’s (Terrance Trammel) foot plants closer to his hips which gives him a slightly shorter stride at this point in the race. If he planted out in front like the black-dot guy, he would have a longer stride but would be in a worse pushing position.

Guess who wins the race (6.46).

The main thing I notice is that your first step (right foot) is very vertical so you’re getting a “pulling” action on your first few steps. For your first few steps, try to get your shins like / instead of |. Think push, push, push. Taking a slightly shorter first step (or first couple of steps) may help with this.
Thanks for the advice I found that really trying to push has helped considerably, but I’m still not getting full extension. How can I correct this? I already have fairly regular massage therapy on my lower back. Would you suggest bounding drills or something similar?

I just had a look at the film. It looks like a strength issue coupled with tightness (possibly). A higher resolution clip might shed more light. I’d start with an improved strength program before worrying about technique too much (beyond concentrating on relaxation)

Does this mean that only video analysis by those affiliated with Charlie is welcomed here?
If this is correct, can you please explain why?

Ideally we wanted Charlie to have first dibs on Video Analysis (it is his site, and i’m working under the impression, this was our intention with the offering from the start.

If you feel you are qualified to work on video, please do so; but give more qualifed posters an opportunity also.

Hope this helps


Thanks Rupert. I understand giving Charlie the first crack at it. Glad to hear that everyone’s opinions are welcomed though.

i think u need more knee lift. try using ur hip flexors more to drive ur knee forward.

this might be just a load of rubbish though, cuz i’m not a pro coach or anything.