The Charlie Francis Training System E-book (CFTS) Review

The Charlie Francis Training System E-book (CFTS)


The CFTS e-book is a scanned version of Charlie’s Training for Speed book that is now out of print. In a question and answer format it covers all of Charlie’s philosophy and is a prerequisite for anyone interested in sprint training.


The book is scanned at a fairly low resolution to keep file size to a minimum for download purposes but even at this resolution it comes in at over 10Mb. Some people have commented that this makes it somewhat hard to read on screen (though I didn’t really have a problem). Either way it looks fine when printed out.

Preface I – CF communicator:
Talks about the format of the book and the importance of simplicity in training.

Preface II – CF Coach:
Explains about the people who have contributed to Charlie’s coaching philosophy.

Preface III – High performance:
Sets the scene regarding high performance in track and field and answers questions about the conventions used in the book and explains about the importance of regeneration to athletic performance.

Preface IV – Sprint Training – it underlies Sports ranging from gymnastics to soccer
Discusses the importance of sprint training in teams sports.

Foreword – Coaching as an Art From
The nature of the 100m sprint is discussed as well as the evolution of the track coach from novice to expert.

Biography – Charlie Francis
Describes Charlie’s background as an athlete (he was once ranked 5th in the world and was Canadian champion from 1970-1973). It also details the 32 world records and 9 Olympic medals won by his athletes as well as other world titles.

Chapter 1 – Talent Identification and Athlete Development
Discusses the myths surrounding talent identification, the place of sprint training in the development of all athletes and how training should progress from novice to elite athlete. A talent identification checklist is also presented.

Chapter 2 – Sprint Technique
The difference between running and sprinting is highlighted and sprint mechanics with respect to all parts of the body are discussed in detail. There is discussion of the use of video for analysis and correct breathing.

Chapter 3 – Training Principles
The Central Nervous System (CNS) and its importance in sprint training work is discussed in depth. The use of medicine ball work is discussed and some exercises illustrated. Charlie’s fundamental underlying coaching philosophy is then discussed along with how training should be prescribed and what training aids (resisted sprinting, overspeed work etc) are useful and which are dangerous.

A basic warm up routine is set out and tempo running and recovery work discussed. The role of muscle tone on performance is also highlighted and the chapter ends with a quick summary of all the elements that go into a full training programme.

Chapter 4 – Strength Training
Strength training for sprinting is discussed in depth with comments from Dr Tudor Bompa. This section covers periodization, exercise selection and how to recognise when different training methods are needed. Also, each part of the body is discussed its role in sprinting and exercises for development are illustrated. The section ends with examples of the kind of work Charlie’s sprinters were capable of doing in the gym.

Chapter 5 – Recovery/Regeneration
This chapter highlights the great importance of regeneration and therapy to the development of the athlete. Massage and chiropractic are discussed in depth and the role of different regeneration methods such as ice baths and contrast showers, along with sensible protocols are described. There is also a section on how to rehab hamstring injuries. The Jane Project and Fundamentals 2 DVD really bring this material to life.

Chapter 6 – Planning and Periodization
Periodization of sprint training is discussed in depth as well as Charlie’s approach and the idea of vertical integration (which is covered in even more depth in the Vancouver 02 and 04 DVDs and the Forum Review E-book). Supercompensation is discussed as well as training camps and examples are given of how each component of training varies throughout the year.

Chapter 7 – Testing and Monitoring
Charlie’s approach to testing and monitoring of his athletes progress is discussed in depth along with the use of training journals and “intuition”. The section ends with examples of pages from Angella Issajenko’s training log. Great reading over several pages.

Chapter 8 – Sport Psychology
Charlie discusses his perspective on sports psychology, the importance of motivation and the use of training diaries to keep things in perspective. He also talks extensively about the importance of communication to the coach/athlete relationship.

Chapter 9 – Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
This chapter discusses the use of EMS for both strength enhancement and injury prevention and treatment. Recommendations are made for training parameters and the periodization of EMS work into the yearly plan is also touched upon.

Chapter 10 – Politics and Coaching
In this chapter Charlie outlines the problem of working in the Canadian coaching system. Although this was written almost over 15 years ago his comments still strike a chord today. Charlie also discusses the use of agents and there is an interview with Ron Earl the business manager for Charlie’s track club which discusses the financial aspects of coaching athletics.

Chapter 11 – Financial Aspects
This chapter really follows on from the interview with Earl and discusses the financial problem facing both athletes and coaches in track and field. It talks about the importance of marketing to athletics and how to deal with, and work along side, meet promoters.


CFTS should be the first purchase for anyone new to sprint training or Charlie’s philosophy. In 218 pages it covers almost every aspect of sprint training and must be considered one of the classic works in track and field. Every other product in the catalogue builds on the concepts that are presented. Whether you are a coach or an athlete this should be a top priority purchase.


Great Review- The CFTS is the


The CFTS is where is all gets started. If you don’t have the CFTS get in the game.

Agreed, but to be perfectly honest… I liked reading CFTS AFTER reading Speed Trap, it gives yo a more… evolutionary understanding to the whole system. However I would recommend hands down both books on their own or together!!