The start

A while ago I heard a great coach say regarding the tart and drive-phase:
Insted of going for quickness, go for power and distance.

Is this the way to do it? I never seems to convince my brain to trust this, and ends up trying for qickness, and this might be what leads to non-relaxation but tighten up.

What do you think…power and distance…and should this be relaxed or like a speeding bullet?


good question…

I am for power in the start and drive phase.

You need to reach max speed quickly. To do this you must impart high levels of force against the track. Stay low and push hard!
However, if you take the view that you’re aiming for distance you might develop a jumping action in your start. This you do not want. Come out of the blocks running.

Quickness is more important once max speed has been achieved.


"Introduction - Most American athletes come in with misunderstandings of technique and the goals of sprinting. For example, many fail to understand that they must power out of the blocks instead of going for speed! Coaches have to be careful to get athletes to trust them and use models, images, video, etc. to convince them of the need to learn the proper mechanics and structure of the sprinting model. The coach must put it to the athletes in the way that they can understand it, not the way that coach knows it.

The Acceleration Model - It is necessary teach all athletes how to sprint 100 meters proficiently, even though they may never run it in a meet. The reason is that all acceleration activities in jumps, sprints and hurdles are a variation of the 100m pattern. If you are successful at 100m, they you can make subtle variations to meet the demands of the specific event.

General Preparation - This is the vital period for posture and rhythm awareness. Acceleration is powerful, but not quick! The 55m has no penalty for an overly quick acceleration pattern - those accrue after 55-60 meters in the 100m! Never train for indoor distances, but teach acceleration for the outdoor event. Discipline is vital - contrary to notion that the faster the acceleration phase and quicker the high velocity, the faster one can run. The athlete has to be much more powerful than that! Look at the example of Leroy Burrell in the “0” step. Athletes must do as he did when he set the world record - continue to powerfully extend completely from the hips through the shoulders! Even though it feels slower, it puts the athlete in the desired position for acceleration. Another problem is that when athletes do this, there is an initial performance decrease - this is possible for them to deal with if the coach warns them. Technique and rhythm will improve and performance will be improved. Carl Lewis is perfect to view as the model starter! He would have received no medals at 50m or 60m - he was not slow out of the blocks, but the first to completely understand the acceleration pattern and be powerful out of the blocks and maximize acceleration, pushing aggressively from the blocks. All great sprinters since have modeled this - Burrell, Christie, Bailey, Greene, etc. Reaction time is also overrated - the coach should teach them to react as effectively as possible (train in a subconscious way via exercises) - but not to encourage guessing (false starts should never be tolerated) nor beating people out of the blocks. The result of this mentality is the generation of acceleration problems…" ( Vince Anderson)
Just some info to consider.

Great reply theone!

I don’t share his view Mohikan. In that same article he goes on to say… “Accelerated stride length is not related to stature - it does not matter whether one is tall or small! Air time is the same - .24 seconds. For example, the race between Jones and Pintusevich-Block saw the latter cover 2 more inches at the 22nd step than Jones! She was producing more force at the time!”
What I get from this is, he believes that a sprinter’s stride length during acceleration is time related. And the faster you are the longer your strides during acceleration. If this is true how do you explain Ben & Tim vs Maurice.

Yes, I see your point…but the way I was starting to think were.
Often you start the race by going with maximum speed from 0-60m e.g
And I always looked at acceleration to go as quick as possible.
But if I understood “go for distance and power”, this meant that the acceleration starts after the drive-phase, after 30-40m, when you go for maxvelocity. It´s confusing to convince your mind sometimes what is wrong and what is wright…