Sprinting Naturally: Are Sprinting Technique Cues Really Necessary?

You have discovered that running naturally and relaxed will produce the result which is most desirable.
If you have cues you need to make sure they are the right ones.
For example for years I used to run with my shoulders up. It’s easy to tell myself " shoulders down", as this que reminds me of some grade school coaches yelling from the side lines… " run faster". It was not until I became more comfortable with the work I had put in and started to see my training times fall that I could relax more.
I think your question is an excellent point to discuss.

Thank You I’m flattered by your comment…I have been searching for this magical cue for so long. I have read many articles and many posts on this site, but all of the articles I have read were descriptions of how we should run not the end all be all on what we should focus on. So with that being said I would really like to hear thoughts from other athletes and former athletes on the cues that worked for them. Thanks

Direct cues may be necessary for correcting a poor body position or angles in arms and shoulders. But you don’t have to say it. Just show their mistakes on video.

Technical changes in the hips and feet can be accomplished with less cues, more unconsciously, by doing various drills, like the Mach drills, preferably with a transition to running.

Out of 3 of my current athletes, 2 of them I give cues too. They have a smiling cue, and a telephone box cue. The other athlete who is running I don’t give any cues too.

Does he need it, he probably does. But he doesn’t try to run too hard or too perfectly. He just runs, reasonably natural.

what is your smiling cue?

The telephone box cue/stepping straight down is one cue that I always use because I tend to have the habit of reaching for the ground so I can admit to that…Other than that wouldn’t natural running mechanics still be the right way to go? Shouldn’t the main focus be directed towards POSTURE since it is nearly impossible to overstride or back kick with optimal posture due to stretch reflex and tendon length.

Very difficult to use the telephone booth/box cue with today’s young athletes. In the world of cell phones and texting, most kids have never seen or had to use a telephone booth/box. I would usually get a blank stare from the kids when I referred to running in a telephone booth. Perhaps a small restroom stall…

LOL that is so true…I’m 21 and I can honestly say the last time I saw one of those was when I was 12 Lmao!..I wonder why most athletes including myself tend to reach?

Luckily in Tassie we still have telephone booths, rare but they are still around.

The smiling cue is just that. You smile. It is my way I trying to get to relax as you can’t smile if you are tense.

True…I would laugh at one of my team mates in high school because he would smile when he ran lol but he did run a 10.4…So :slight_smile:

For a demonstration of the smiling cue see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWzAaydIJcA (4:37 min).

Some athletes tend to reach but others might push or dig. I used to do all of it at various stages of my development.
Initially I reached.
When I tried too hard I was digging.
When I had more power and was getting fast ( and impatient) I used to push. Oh man how I used to love to push. ( laughing at myself on this)
This progression had to do with where I was at with my training and my experience. Charlie used to say the goal was to put the athlete in a situation where very little thinking was required. This is the idea behind all the explosive medicine ball drills, power speed ( done correctly) and other training principles. Practicing drills repeatedly that set you up to succeed in the correct way for your body type.
You are asking very good questions.

Ok I can understand that…I can honestly say that I tend to over analyze and all of those problems you just named describes me very well lol…I would reach for the ground/next stride, then I would try to hard and push as hard as possible which resulted in alot fo back kick, and I would consciously lift my knees which would cause my stride rate to decline…So in short I HAVE PROBLEMS LOL :-)…When I just focus on running with a natural and under control stride(not to much pushing/back kick and no reaching for an increased stride) I run faster and more consistently…What is digging?

I guess digging is a combo of reaching and trying too hard and pushing down. It is a function once again of many things. Mostly trying to hard and not relaxing.
Have you seen any of the running footage from our store? For example GPP?

Yes I purchased it last year but I don’t think it was the right purchase for me…I would have like to see more examples of good and bad technique.

So you would like to see examples of bad technique compared to good technique? And perhaps discussions that go along with this?
thanks for your feedback.

the other practical ones have that and Charlie correcting them via drills and other things. VERY useful.

Ange are you able to say who that was in the GPP DVD with you and her level of performance? My understanding is it isn’t you doing the EFE, FEF, tempo etc but is you doing the hurdle and other stuff. Correct?

Personally I find watching elite level athletes and trying to recreate that helpful. IMHO rhythm in athletic performance is really interesting and important sometimes just getting that right can make a huge difference.

Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying. I would like to see more of a distinction between good and bad technique. Thanks for your responses :slight_smile:

So practical sessions should be my next purchase?

it depends what you want (and that isn’t me avoiding the question) but certainly I found them useful to take stuff to the track and I use info from the every session… mind you I can’t think of a CF product that hasn’t been in some way.