Sprint drills; how perfect do they have to be?

In Speed Trap Charlie writes about how Angella Taylor hid behind a pillar after first joining the team rather than join in with the group because she did not know the sprint drills. This implies that each athlete was not taken aside and slowly taken through a progression as soon as they joined the team, which makes sense and obviously would not be practical in a large group situation. The drills were still used and obviously still had value in cueing the athletes.
I had not introduced the A skip, B skip, A run, and butt kicks into my warmup because I figured that I should hold out until I was able to get a coach to explain to me how to do them properly. However, is it this important to have a coach do this or can I just mimic what I see in the GPP DVD as best as possible and use them as effective cues and ROM promoters?

Remember that these drills are to generally warm up the muscles and joints and that they are NOT meant to teach you how to sprint. Only sprinting at full speed will teach you how to sprint at full speed.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect Practice makes Perfect. If you are not confident in your ability to execute sprint drills perfectly, you may need a coach. Try taping your workout if you can get a hold of a video camera and watch your execution to see how you look.

Drills are meant to help you to sprint… - mainly sprinting over short distances

ie high knees - teaching to get the knees high when sprinting
also, fast foot drills, with ladders - help lessen foot contact time when sprinting

The drills, when done properly, help establish correct neuromuscular movement patterns. The drills can also improve the stride rate and stride length depending on the drills done.

Some drills can help perfect some pieces of the puzzle, though they can’t replace speed work.

The drills have no relation really to fast movements. Ladders??? How do they help lessen foot contact time? Every person is differernt, how do you know how to set up the ladder? High knees in sprinting are resultant from contact with the ground and the elastic rebound effect which happens from that.

No harm will be done if you wing it with the drills. A camera will help yes, and a coach is essential if you want to be a world class sprinter. Very few self coached elite athletes in history.

Again, the drills are for warming up, perhaps a bit for strengthening (tiny bit), and will never teach you how to sprint properly, only sprinting will teach proper sprinting.

Agree about the ladders. also high knees don’t do anything if they’re high but you’re sitting in a bucket to do it. You need the full range of motion.

Hmmmm, ok. They will “help” to perfect it yes. I think this would be dependent on having a coach present who could tie in the drill with what is really going on at top speed. I was more or less trying to emphasise that their value for teaching technique is minimal, and that there is no danger in doing them without a coach as far as being a detriment to technique.

You have totally changed my idea about speed drills. I never used to do any speed drill in warm up or practice cause I simply didn’t FEEL like it but then I always used to feel guilty, cause everyone around me is doing it. I just didn’t feel like it and so now I’m in relief. I’ll probably start doing them in warm up from now on. But thank god they’re not critical!

I have the feeling that drills have a more important place in Europe. I’ve watch video of Borzov performing drills it was beautiful and obviously the aim wasn’t exclusively warming-up, but it’s clear that a nobody runner would have been unable to imitate these exercises.
GDR designed specific drills for start technique, or sprinting technique, as well as all other events, for each specific movements. The aim was to learn each specific technique in separate movements and perform them at various speeds.
Christine Arron in her first career 1993-2000 had a very sharp athletic education based on those drills, many training cessions were only based on specific drills with ot without lath, hurdles, weight vest, towing, etc. and this really built her stride and contributed to changed her static and running body position as she had a lordosis and back lean cycle.
I’ve got a video of Linford Christie performing drills in Stuttgart’93, it’s also beautiful to watch, based mostly on high knees, but clearly linked with his sprinting technique, as this drills were progressively moved into running strides.

about the importance of drills for us europeans I agree.I saw Many articles and videos in italy stressing the importance of drills to improve stride length and frequency with different sprinting exercises( for example running with shorter or longer strides, used both as a training medium and as a training test;high knees , with progressively longer strides ending in a full speed wind sprint etc…)

You would be no more and no less dependant on a coach for drills than for speed work. there are many different types of drills, both active and reactive(corrective, for use only when needed)

Cool, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.