What are the aspects of sprinting that can be improved by forebrain control? ie. running on the balls of your feet, kicking the butt. This would be very useful to me as I do not have a coach and thus the only way I know my technique is improving is if I can “feel” the movements being performed correctly during sprinting.
As the member with the greatest forebrain activity I will tell you that this is not the way to go.
My originally sound technique broke down over the course of one year by trying to feel the movements. In the end I couldn’t even get past the 30-meter mark. I would literally run myself into the ground.
The problem is that there is a world of difference between “trying to feel” and just “feel”. In the first instance what you are really doing is “thinking about feeling”, which leads to forced movements. The brain is not a great sprinter.
When you are struggling like I did it is hard to believe the saying “just run”, but in the end that is what I did. I just needed to hit rock-bottom first. Now I am letting the actual movements dictate what I feel.
Try getting yourself filmed. It could well be that any technical problems are strenght or flexibility related, and would be best solved away from the track.
In sprint tech drills you are more likely to get away with concentrating than in normal sprints, as ofcourse tech drills are usually slower movements than a sprint.
The hands are the easiest to focus on, the feet the hardest. I never concentrated on dorsi-flexion or plantar flexion of the foot in a sprint, but could get away with than in running A’s.
I copied Charlies sayings from an old thread:
1: Sprinting is an automatic action, controlled by the primitive hind brain, where almost any voluntary (forebrain) input is NEGATIVE.
2: Ground support forces cannot be increased by any voluntary action DURING GROUND SUPPORT. They can be increased by corrective measures taken in advance of the ground support phase(if,in fact any are necessary). Such corrective measures must be MINIMAL, rehearsed well in advance, and made automatic to keep the action in the hind brain during competition.
Implication for coaches:
1: Think twice and speak once. Never attempt to correct a technical issue that you think will correct itself through the development of greater strength. Never over-explain in order to show how smart you are. You are a coach- leave that to the “Gurus”!
2: Train technical aspects indirectly, if possible (ie med ball work for start development) This helps prevent “Paralysis by Analysis”
3: Practice makes permanent- not perfect. Make sure your athletes are physically prepared for any work that requires technical execution. This means make sure the most demanding parts of the workout occur right after the warm-up, and make sure you prescribe only the number of reps they can handle perfectly.
4: At the first hint of any mechanical breakdown, stop the session and move on to less demanding training.
The primary motor area & pre motor cortex are found in the fore brain, there role is to send neural impulses along the cortiospinal tract to motor units. In contrast the hind brain (Cerebellum, pons, Medulla) have no direct connection with motor neurons, its role is to smooth out and co-ordinate movements.
Its impossible for the hind brain to control the sprinting action since it has no neural connection to motor units.