How to and how not to sprint



Enjoyed hearing him talk - sound like a lil sneaky plug. I’m not a huge fan of the toe drag.

When that dude from Oregon learns how to start and accelerate properly, he will be sub 6.4 for 60m consistently.

Just try to get low heel recovery like gatlin.

He doesn’t do those properly now?


He didn’t really provide any info or tips, it was definitely a bit of a sales pitch. However that being said, it’s still interesting to hear an experience like this from an athlete’s perspective, and a high level one at that. Overall, my current view is that frontside mechanics is often overemphasized, or at the least it seems to me that it is generally taught in a way that can screw athletes up. The Ralph Mann camp teach things in a way that, at least in my view, is a recipe for paralysis by analysis (for most atheltes anyway). Now, sure, frontside mechanics are obviously correlated with fast sprinting. But my view is that these characteristics are being placed too much under the microscope. To me, frontside mechanics will happen as a result of doing everything else right, and is really only something that coaches should see visually rather than a strategy that should be placed in the forefront of an athlete’s mind - and is not a root causation of speed. When the emphasis is hyperfocused on athlete’s specific limb angles all the time, it can de-emphasize the things the athlete should also be doing. For example, if an athlete is too focused on driving the knee and flexing the hip, this is likely to take away from the other end where hip extension and applying force to the ground is critical. Another example, is that said camp also talks about reducing the knee angle as a strategy to improve frequency. But again, this is likely to just inhibit hip extension. One more example, these people also teach a limiting of the heel recovery in order to avoid backside mechanics, which leads to some weird emphasis on slowing down the hamstring and resisting the natural shortening of the lever. Instead of telling athletes what NOT to do, it would be much more effective to simply say “step over”. This will encourage a posture suitable for maximal velocity, prevent backside “jack-knifing”, and at the same time facilitate the speed of rotation in the knee rather than resist it.

Now, I will also say that obviously there are a few athletes who have been able to been taught in a very analytical way and achieve success. There are some people out there who can pick up on it from that kind of approach and implement it immediately. But I don’t think most athletes in general will benefit from this way of doing things. It’s not that what the research says it’s wrong, it’s just that telling the athlete facts about angles is not necessarily going to get them to reach those positions. In order to get athletes to cause themselves to run faster, it is not necessary to teach them the effects. So, at least for me, I really try to approach things from a practical perspective anymore. Just because you never said “frontside mechanics” at practice doesn’t mean you aren’t striving towards that as a goal. Rather than talk about hitting the ground quick or hard, or specific degrees of heel recovery, just saying “step down” will often yield all of the desired results. …The genius that was Charlie Francis.

These guys probably think they could have changed MJ’s form and made him into a 18 sec runner lol. (Side point: obviously MJ could have improved his 100m start, though. But his wouldn’t require he change his running style. It’s pretty clear he never used his arms enough during early acceleration, for one. And certainly he never focused much on even training his start, because he didn’t need to do that to get results in the long sprints. Regardless, perhaps he just wasn’t built particularly well for early acceleration?) But such a mindset, that there is one way or the highway, is ignorant of the reality that’s in front of them - especially when the athlete is getting results. It denies that athletes are all unique and have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Of course there are parameters of reaching an optimal performance, but they aren’t as rigid as most coaches usually believe. It’s like how some kids can solve a math problem differently than the instructor; if a coach does not interfere, often athletes will find a solution that works best for them to adapt to their environment. Natural selection will eventually hone the athlete towards what is best for them. So it’s our job to just get out of the way and just facilitate and guide the athletes, rather than to preach some sort of one-size-fits-all dogma.

This is such an interesting topic and I think it’s important that coaches understand both sides of it: having standards, yet, making sure those standards allow for enough freedom to not impede opportunities for an athlete to find their strengths. We all know if Charlie would have “corrected” Ben’s start that he would have just screwed him up. Still, Ben still had to work on other aspects of his form in order to improve.

I can agree. Definitly not a one size fits all. Take shelly for example. SHe cycles out the blocks. No low heel recovery. Bolt had low heel and so does Jgat, but both starts look totally different.

Yall notice all the ladies running fast this year get into a nice march once they at top end

Speaking of Charlie…what’s cool is seeing the ppl he coached/consulted with still in the sport as Coaches/Agents and helping the new Olympians in 2020.


I see Pierre is doing good[/i]