elite vs. super elite

I am not a track and field coach, but it seems like many of the training principles to improve linear speed are based on the distinguishing factors between the elite and super elite. Like the differences in GCT between the fastest people in the world and second fastest, or stride length, range of motion, GC position in relation to COM, etc.

My question is how much of this type of system for linear speed improvement can be applied to multi-sport athletes of poor to average physical ability? Are similiar distinguishing factors seen between poor and average performers as seen between elite and super elite? Should those of us that train 13 yr old, slow soccer players be careful of applying a philosophy for training that was developing from analyzing the fastest people in the world?

Is there any literature that analyzes specific speed variables between poor and average performers?

Yes there is, for example, a study by Japanese physiologist A Ito identified differences between elite sprinters and novice/average sprinters. |in that study the elites (L Burrell and C Lewis ) had greater hip extension velocity than the novice to average. There are numerous other studies that are out there, try googling.


thanks for the response but this is not what I am looking for. I understand the differences between elite and average sprinters are well documented. I am looking for information or literature that uses performance from poor athletes and compares it with average athletes to find distinguishing factors or success. Much like what you have referenced above but with a lower caliber of athlete.

More important though is determining if elite findings are applicable to linear speed development for the average teenager who is involved in team sports.

Please be more specific in your question, are you looking for sprint mechanics, sprinter’s physiology, sprint training…

The examples I gave above relate mostly to biomechanics and actual performance variables. But that isn’t really the point. It could be any kind of difference found between the super elite and elite. Typically, those differences are the bedrock that philosophy of training is based on. Often the same philosophy is superimposed on younger, less genetically gifted, developing athletes. Which may or may not be appropriate.

If there are another set of differences (any kind) between poor and average athletes then a seperate philosophy of training may be appropriate. For example, ground contact time may not be as important in determing poor performance vs. average, as it is in elite vs. super elite.

I hope this is more clear.

I would say the biggest difference is in levels of co-ordination both inter and intramuscular. Sometimes this is described as the strength of the CNS. As an athlete develops what you start to see is a rhythm and a fluidness to thier running. They often improve by first running say 4.0 for 30m using all of thier energy and later 4.0 for 30m using much less of thier energy. You then see this conservation of energy manifest itself as better endurance at the end of a race. If I had to choose one thing it maybe that the better you become the faster you can relax your muscles? But I’m unsure.

Why unsure? Maybe it is better stated the other way round : “The faster you can relax your muscles,the better you become”,but this is…a one way street for all of us!

Who are the “super elite”…then?

I’m only unsure if it is the MOST important thing. Certainly it is high on the list.

I would recommend you look at the GPP DVD and see how technical work is incorporated into basic preparation without a great deal of discussion ensuring that relaxation is built in from the very start. Look especially at the starts from the ground and hte med ball accels. They should work well for your needs.

It definitely makes sense that coordination / relaxation / efficiency would contribute to varying levels of success for developing, non-gentically gifted athletes.

It is interesting that this type of information hasn’t been researched to the extent that elite athletes have. Until then are we to make logical and educated guesses?

I thought that the decades that Charlie and others spent on the track on daily basis would count as extensive researches on these informations regarding elite athletes.

I am not sure what you are trying to say here. You obviously aren’t trying to contribute to the thread as this is your second post and you have seemly misunderstood what I wrote, twice.

To be clear, I thought it was interesting that not as much research has been done on young, non-gifted athletes as has been on elite. No one questioned research regarding elite athletes.

Also, while anecdotal evidence is arguably more important than research, scientific “research” refers to controlled settings, objective statistical analysis, experimentation, etc. We should be clear on common terminology to avoid misunderstandings. :slight_smile:

he’s basicly trying to say that yessis is a quack

Yessis was never mentioned

oops wrong thread.

still his inference that being on the track is more pertinent than being in the labratory stands.

I would say it’s clearly the opposite. Each year provides hundredth studies on childs/students sprinters. Statistical studies regarding elite has a panel group very short, by definition. Thus, these statistics are useless.

Well thats one way to look at it. Seems like the scientific method has done more for track and field than any other sport. Then again I am not involved in the politics of the sport and its research.

BTW, can you point me towards any of the hundreds of studies done on children. Particularly information on non-gifted poor performers compared to average performers. (My original question). Even data on young sprinters is wieghted towards athletes that are already “fast” (thats why they sprint).

I can direct you on the extensive researches done in Bulgaria and published in “Vaproci na Fiziceskata Kultura” during the '70s-80s, they have collected and compared physical abilities for all ages. Same with speed curve variation, stride length and frequency patterns. Same with various training regimen. Poland published materials too but i only have a few French translation of it. Of course all this was in the aim to detect talents in the communist countries.
While you are at the backstage of you sport library to read the old Vaprocies, have a look to new collections and the big heavy books where symposums for yearly seminars in sports are published. Plenty of studies with children and non talented sprinters.

On english language, one study should particularly interest you : Physiological characteristics of female 100 metre sprinters of different performance levels, in J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1995;35:p169-175, by Y. Meckel and al. 3 groups are compared 11.8, 12.7 and 14.2.

Van Coppenolle did similar study (Women’s track and field athletics, The official Report of the First IAAF Congress on Women’s Athletics, Mainz, F R Germany, 9-11 December 1983) comparing rythmic patterns for 3 groups of female sprinters. In the same book, you will find a study by Baumann regarding starting blocks with elite (Annegret Richter) and 12sec female.

You will find in Mero & Komi’s articles some tables including kinetics and kinematics comparing different groups of performances.


I have no access to that information nor would I be able to read it. So before I reserve my trip to Bulgaria, can you summarize any pertinent findings?

I have read the english suggestions, biased towards track athletes.

Let me ask my original question again, since something has been lost in this thread.

ASSUMPTION: Most sprint training methodology is based on distinguishing differences between very fast and fast people.

QUESTION: How applicable is this training methodology to the majority (poor to avg. runners) of those competing in all sports.

This is very generalized. I am looking to start discussion with a general answer and work from there. Discussing tangents and details to begin with almost always leads to no answer to original question.

Either my assumption is wrong and the question is a non-issue or there is an answer.

You don’t have to travel to Bulgaria, and its not a good idea to ask someone to summarise for you, when you are likely to query his conclusions. It doesn’t take much effort to search on Sports Discus on the web or the British Library to find the refernces Pierre Jean has kindly provided. He’s trying to be helpful and you are just being plain sarcastic

Looking at elite performance is very relevant because it identifies what the goal is. If you are a car manufacturer and you want to build an outstanding car, do you look at a Trabant or a Skoda (old types) or do you look at cars like BMW, Mercedes to name a few?

Studies that compare elite to the type of groups that you are talking about are much more relevant than just looking at one particular group in isolation.