Drive Phase

I would like a discussion started on the Drive Phase that seems to be all the rage on most sprinting Forums. How to train it? How long to push the drive phase in a race? Key elements etc?

what race event are you inquiring about?

Forget the drive phase. It is completely unnatural.

When most people say “drive-phase” they mean simply acceleration. What more there is I don’t know.

The Smith-camp also speaks about “maximising your phases” - which sounds alot like “let it happen” and other such cues.

Thor, I tend to agree with you. Initially I was skeptical, but I’m starting to realise there might be some (psychological) brilliance in Smith’s ideas.

This is a cut of paste from my ranting on;
…you are fooled into an illusion of increased acceleration because you are looking directly at the ground. Relative to the eyes, the rate at which the ground appears to move backwards is proportional to the distance between the object of focus and the face of the viewer.

Keeping the neck in flexion 1. decreases the distance between the eyes and the ground and 2. limits the athletes view of external stimulus. Smith, who stresses relaxation might have realised that keeping his athletes head down prevents them trying to ‘chase’, and helps keep them relaxed, whilst creating a sense of increased acceleration relative to their experiences of tightening up and fighting for speed. A similiar effect to ‘blinkers’ used in horse racing.

However, I can’t see any biomechanical advantage by employing such a technique.

The “problem” with the Smith´s Drive Phase is that you need at least 5 years until you get some benefit from this way of start, so, if you´re not ready as MO, Ato and Drummond was when they started doing this, well, better you keep your eyes out of here.

If it works psychologically - i can’t tell.

Anyway - in the earlier stages of acceleration your body will of course show a forward lean and holding yourself straight your head will look down naturally - if not you are lifting your head in an unnatural way trying to look at the finish line.