Start Mechanics

You posting your stats made me realize you are an athlete yourself and maybe not a coach. That being said, here is some advise, forget about the “drive phase” and just sprint. With times in the 11.3 range the “drive phase” should be your last concern and dropping your time your first.
Btw, there is no such thing as “drive phase”, there is only proper acceleration.

Explain to me how being an “athlete” takes away from his advice and knowledge? I’m a division one athlete, and while I am not an expert on sprint training as it pertains to track and field, I am however an expert on First Step Reaction and agility and quickness training. I’m certified by the NSPA (CCS) and ACSM. Here’s the doozy, I only run my 40 in about 4.65 time. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t helped dozens of athlete’s lower their 40, including a cornerback out of VMI who now runs in the low 4.4s high 4.3 range.

You know nothing about him, so here’s my “advice” (yes, with a C) to you: you can be extremely knowledgable and educated in the field and still not be an amazing performer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spread your knowledge and information to help others and learn more yourself.

Can you explain to me in greater detail what you mean by “there is no such thing as a drive phase, there is only proper acceleration”?

As far as your other statements, you’re more than entitled to your opinions but I’ve been “just sprinting” for a number of years now, and there comes a time when you want to learn more about the how’s and the why’s of running. You’d be amazed what a little knowledge of physics and some pointers will do for a person’s understanding of a sport.

No I’m not a coach, I never claimed to be and if I mislead anyone I appologize. That being said, former athletes make some of the best coaches, as they’ve “been there” and had to internalize the information themselves so they know what works and what doesn’t, I don’t see how that lessens any of the information.

As far as decreasing my times before I think about the drive phase, I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around that statement. Like I said, if you can clarify things a little maybe I’ll be able to respond to it, as opposed to cutting it down and calling it naive or ignorant.

Thanks for pointing out my typographical error and for listing your certifications. :rolleyes:

Thanks for ignoring my otherwise valid points, to which you have yet to respond, or to Janic’s post.

What were you trying to point out again?

I am not trying to cut you down or call you naive, I am trying to save you some frustration and disappointment. You being an athlete takes nothing away from your post. However, it changes my approach in this discussion from debating you, to trying to help you.
Again, if you are in the 11.3 range “drive phase” is the least of your worries(fitness should be your focus). Think about this; Maurice drives for 30m and hits top speed around 60m, you are running 11.31 so you are at top speed by 40m or before, yet, you are driving for the same 30m.

I’d prefer if you tried to debate with me, it would give me a better understanding of the reasoning behind your assumptions.

I said my pb is 11.3 I never said my fitness level was 11.3. I ran 11.3 a number of years ago but since then as a result of work and lack of training I haven’t run a 100 outdoor. When my coach asked about my pb in the 100m and I told him the time, he was a little shocked. He said from what he’s seen there is no evidence as to why I shouldn’t be running much faster. Which is one of the reasons I didn’t mention my times before, they aren’t an accurate indication as to what I’m capable of running, nor should they influence what type of consideration my input into this discussion recieves.

And I have a different opinion as to the reason I was running 11.3

If you explode out of the blocks with a very limited drive phase, or acceleration phase if you will, then for an inexperienced runner they’ve hit top speed by 20-30m and aren’t strong enough to maintain that for very long and as a result tie up and bleed speed for the final half or third of the race.

You can be as fast as you want but unless you use the speed correctly it’ll be like, to use a silly example which still illustrates my point, using nitrous oxide too early in a race before top speed has been reached. You push hard for 30m then have nothing left for the remainder.

And there’s nothing wrong with learning (what I consider to be) the correct technique while you are becoming fit (which I am now I assure you)

It’s one thing to assure a 15 year old new to the sport that “just sprint” is the best way to begin to become fit, but it’s another thing entirely to say that to a 25 year old veteran.

If I’m still missing something please respond, I would like more info regarding your acceleration phase and lack of drive phase.

Re no drive phase: At the start, mass is at rest. The property of inertia inherent in the mass resists changes in velocity and according to “Big Newton’s” first law will maintain this velocity unless acted on by an external force. When Janic applies force to the blocks inertia is overcome and linear movement begins, now all he has to do is keeping pushing on the ground. The amount of force he delivers will determine the amount of lean he has and how long his ““drive phase”” will last.

Did not see your above post before i posted this one.

Okay, I will make a point/ask a question and you respond, cool?
You still have to tell me how is it that 9.8 -10.1 sprinters and 10.5-11.3 sprinters are all advised to drive for 30m.
In one part of your post you said sprinting is all pushing and no pulling,so why are we pulling/driving the knees to the chest out of the blocks.
Lastly, you claim the the first 5-10 steps should be long and powerful, so why is it that science shows stride length to be the shortest at the start of a sprint.

Ok as far as the “pulling/driving the knees to the chest” there are of course going to be pulling actions during a sprint, what I probably should have said is that in order to move forward as fast and efficiently as possible, the force being applied to the track should be a push off or forward (ie: up and out) NOT a plant of the foot in front of the body and a pulling through via the hamstrings and glutes.

“Science shows stridelength to be shortest at the start of the sprint” I’m not familiar with that research but if it is correct and for sake of argument I will assume it is, then the reason someone would try for length and amplitude out of the blocks is so that range of motion and applied force aren’t blocked or cut off. Just because you’re trying for length and distance doesn’t mean your strides while coming out of the blocks are going to be longer than the strides when you’re running at maximum velocity. Of course you’ll be covering more ground when you’ve hit max velocity. Going for length and distance means you’re not sacrificing applied force for frequency.

Think of it like a car again, if you blast your nitrous right out of the gate you may be ahead to begin with (provided you can apply all that force efficiently) but the car beside you, who didn’t pop the nitrous and who accelerated smoothly (but was still only a carlength behind) is now not only running as fast or faster than you, but also still has his nitrous to burn. Same thing goes for the start. You drive until you can’t drive anymore resulting in a gradual transition to an upright posture after which you feel as if you’ve been given a boost of speed because you’re a third of the way through the race, in the hunt, and you’ve hardly used up any of the energy in your hamstrings and glutes.

I’m not sure why a 9.8 vs a 11.2 runner should have different race technique? I suppose I should have clarified the 30m distance, that’s not a distance set in stone, it’s basically something to shoot for while you’re driving.

I’ve been taught that if you can drive with your quads for as long as possible (the drive phase) at the beginning of the race (whatever the race may be, 60, 100, 200 or 400 even) then that’s money in the bank, because by the time you’ve transitioned through 40-45 meters you’ll have just as much if not more speed than you would have if you’d “popped” out of the blocks with the added benefit of being far less fatigued and able to carry your speed much further into the race.

You MAY be behind a few runners, but like I mentioned, races are by and large won over the final half of the race, not the first half, with a few notable exceptions. If you take a look at Bailey’s olympic 100m run in 96, his start isn’t bad, it just SEEMS like it was poor because most everyone else jumped out of the blocks. They were all going to run blistering times, but look who won the race? Donovan passed basically half the field over the final 20m of the race.

Now if you can explain to me why someone wouldn’t want to run a similar style as a 9.8 runner?

Hmm… interesting points there, Janic. The “money in the bank” and the “poor start” analogy are pretty spot on, as far as I understand sprinting. But what I don’t understand is you’re recomendation to “Drive with your quads”. Actively attempt to use your quads over your other muscle groups?? That sounds like a bad idea. You never want to be thinking about your mechanics during an actual race, or even to a lesser extent in a practice rep.

With proper strength levels, the muscle demands of the first step or two is going to be mainly top-leg (quads) and hip-flexor, but that’s not to say that the glutes and hammies aren’t going to be activated. Though the “sprint position” will use the hammies more… Oh Hell… I’m not even going to try to get into the specific biomechanics of sprinting. Just do 3/4 squats… @70% max in reps of 7-10… You’ll drop .5 seconds off your 100m, garaunteed. :smiley:

I think for training purposes that their should be a division of races. So that you can get specific with your workouts. Even as a coach watching a race, it’s okay to classify the different phases. But as an athlete on the track, what I think and what i think THEONE was trying to say is that you should not be thinking about your phases.

Of course not (regarding your final statement), when it comes time to run the race, everything should be done subconciously, you train your body to react to a race situation by practicing the correct procedures and you just “let it run” when it coms time to compete.

That being said, if you’re popping straight up ou t of the blocks and giving er hell 1 step into the race with no forward lean (or drive phase) then that’s going to be a problem don’t you think?

When I recommend driving with the quads, I wasn’t for a minute proposing that you try and isolate the “push” so that only your quads are firing, that would be ludicrous and completely counter productive to speed (I agree). What I was suggesting, is that with the correct forward lean, and correct body position and angles, the brunt of the work during acceleration can be done through the strong quads/hips/glutes which will allow for a lessened impact on the hamstrings, better positioning for later in the race and a more smooth and efficient acceleration. As a result you’ll also be less likely to agravate your hamstrings because you won’t be “pulling” or “cycling”.

By definition, if I may, I don’t think this is possible anyway.

An 11.3 athlete will need to concentrate much more on Speed Endurance, for example, as his Acceleration and subsequent Top Speed phases will be achieved sooner.

A 9.8 athlete will be able to extend his Acceleration, reaching Top Speed much later in the race and to the degree that Speed Endurance importance becomes less and less for high level sprinters.

Perhaps this is what TheOne means by “conditioning” -my apologies if I am mistaken!


This “drive phase” discussion and the idea of delaying fatigue was beaten to death on the old forum. However, I don’t mind going into it a little if it’s going to help others see the light.
Nikoluski has a general idea about what I mean by fitness. Charlie talks all day about going for the big bucks at the end and not the small change at the begining, and about fitness (are you guys reading the same forum?).
Re using your quads: Your quads may be the primary mover when the base of support is under or behind your COM. How many steps can you do that for after leaving the blocks. If you can do that for 16 strides (30m) you should be an 8 point sprinter.

Because you are not running 9.8
For the same reason no good sprinter tries to “jump” from the blocks like Ben.
For the same reason no other sprinter copied MJ’s technique.
For the same reason nobody looks as light on their feet as Tim, or tries to takes 5.4 strides per sec like him
For the same reason no woman runs like Flojo.
Hope you get the point.

Ben used the throw both of this arms back and leap out, rather than than do the conventional split that his contemporaries and everyone today is doing. Ben had incredible explosive ability, so this technique was suited to him.

A “Carl Lewis type” sprinter would have more difficulty managing this, I would assume.

I would also imagine it would be difficult to re-coordinate your arms back into the proper alternating motion with your legs after you’ve thrown them both back.

I don’t recall Ben ever doing this in his races. Maybe a picture or video?

Well, after all this talking about Drive Phase and --Why you ( simple mortal sprinter ) can´t run in 9.8 yet-- i´m curious to see what you people think;
? What is the “primary” needs for a sprinter.
I mean, when someone decides to be a sprinter, what should be the first aspect to be trained or tested.
Of course, if you wanna be a sprinter, probabily you´re already have some factor that gives you a direction ( high cadence or high frequency compared with other runners ) but what do you guys think it´s the basis for a begginer sprinter.
My bets goes 100% to a very good GPP program since you need to be very well conditioned to maintain speed after 40, 50 or 60m after your max v was achieved, and maybe, pliometric would be the last one.

as TT says requirements SL,SFREQUENCY+ANA ENDUR

Can you direct me towards specific threads that discuss these topics in the archives? I did some searching but nothing’s really jumping out at me. I’m not conceding anything here, I’m just curious to see what Charlie and company have to say about it :smiley:

Anyway, constructive discussion is interesting as long as things remain civil and people can back up their arguments.