Blocks, relaxation, and coaching issues

Whenever I do a standing start, I can stay relaxed throughout the whole run. But today when I started doing block work again, I was getting tense. A lot of people commented on how I didn’t look relaxed at all in the face or shoulders. Any suggestions?

It may just be because of my lack of block practice. Also, on starts, I feel as if I am walking out of the blocks. I feel faster off a standing start then block starts, and I pop right up. I look like Marion Jones basically. Body upright, but head down. Is this a strength issue? Any quick pointers I could look at to try to change this? (Will try to get a video of me doing blocks as soon as possible)

And another little problem…
I am a sophomore in high school. PB is like 11.6 HT almost a year ago. I know I will be able to hit 11.0 this year because I am deticated to do it and because I have found CF. The problem comes with the coaches.

They are typical high school coaches. A “good workout” for them is some sick volume and intensity, with no recovery the following day. Day after day of the same thing. I had a 45 min talk with my coach about how I am comfortable with what I am doing, how I am deticated to what I am doing, and how I would rather do what I am doing then what the “team” is doing(all nicely stated). I was given “the expectations for you to be on this team is for you to do the team workout.” I understand his point and all, but I would be wasting my time if I did their workouts. It’s kind of like until you can show me some dedication and results from your coaching, I will be on the other side of the track, practicing by myself. Any ideas on how I can present this my ideas in a positive, “I might almost consider that” kind of way? If that doesn’t work, where should I go from there?

Thanks for your time


Be careful how you throw around the words “typical high school coach”. Yes there are few that are a little suspect but then again I would imagine there are several collegiate and higher coaches that have the same qualities. Most High school coaches work very hard to do the best we can with our student athletes ranging from the kid who boy who runs 10.6 to the slow kid who wants some attention and runs 11.8 but loves the sport of track and field. Spend time getting stronger and let you work do the talking. Enjoy the work!

xlr8 hit it on the nose.

m b
How about setting up the blocks on a very shallow hill (obviously on a good smooth grass patch). That way you can come out of the blocks in a very smooth, relaxed manner, yet stil get into the desired acceleration angles (rather than you being forced to stay down, the ground is moved up to achieve the correct angles at a lower speed than would be required otherwise). Try it and report back on the results.

These can be done in a variety of ways, but the simplest is to lie on your stomach, facing the finish line, then at the signal, get up and sprint for about 30m. Don’t think about your form, and it is likely that your mechanics will simply work.


Get a medicine ball (4kg/8lbs is probably the right range) Hold it in front of you like you would for a basketball chest pass. Do a quick shallow squat and launch the ball as far forward as you can, then immediately run after it. This should get your body into a nice forward leaning position and requires you to apply force from this angle.


Just put em away for a while - then see how u get on after a break -
If u still have probs then post a video of ur start if possible

Thanks for the response D.

Could you expand on the prone and medball starts? I know what a falling start is but have not heard of those two. Are they in CFTS somewhere?


There are a variety of factors that could be attributed to this problem.
For one, you sound like you put a high level of stress into actual block work, which is obviously going to cause you to go tense up and go back to the errors.
2, it could be a strength issue
3, it could be a lack of technical work

As Charlie has stated, I would put the blocks up until needed, and do a variety of starts (falling, prone, med ball) to get the correct “feel” and posture. Be patient and remember to keep having fun. You are too young to let this stress you out!

Thanks for the responses.

I just found out my school has medballs, so I am going to look up that section in CFTS. I will try some of the block work tomorrow. It’s a SE day, so should I do it before or after my two runs, or should I put it off till my next true speed day(Friday)? I am a little hesitant about that because I have a meet on Tuesday, and Friday will be my only real speed day before then.

Also, thought about this during my tempo today. My shoulders are sore after sprint runs. Is this a sign of me being to tense in the shoulders and not relaxing?


charlie you say that when starting the armas will do the work and the rest wil follow, im sure you have to push back into the blocks and some power will have to come from the legs.

Unfortunately, some coaches have 2 rules:

  1. The coach is always right

  2. If the coach is wrong, go to #1 (above)

:baddevil:: :devil: :baddevil::

The more force you can impart with your lead arm the more power you impart to the blocks from your lead leg :slight_smile:

Originally posted by hassan
charlie you say that when starting the armas will do the work and the rest wil follow, im sure you have to push back into the blocks and some power will have to come from the legs.

maybe you should anonymously slip a note in your coaches bag that says something like… “go to idiot” just kidding, but really, you should try talking to your coach about doing his workouts and yours, maybe alternate days, but if he doesn’t allow it, ask him if you two can talk about reevaluating your plan, tell him you seem to be very sore day after day during his workouts and don’t seem to ever recover. Sometimes it is all in the approach when speaking to your coach, the last thing a hs coach wants is some 15-16 year old acting like he knows more, even if he does. If not, i’d say you have to deal with him because you have to run for a hs team right? Many times hs track coaches are just teachers who were forced into the job because no one wanted to coach track, but some of those same teachers go out of their way to educate themselves about the sport and become pretty good coaches. good luck.