Speed Roundtable - Sprint Biomechanics That Work



- I'd love to know what are those other models in your whether sprint body mechanics system that you believe to be true or have seen to be true.

- Derek, if we keep that same order.

- Well, we could take it to the absolute far end of the spectrum, and I'll see you know that guy that made the BOSU ball, Weck?

- The one that I almost fell on, Jesus!

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, and he's got like salt and pepper shakers, and he's like, "Oh, this is the key to running fast!" And I'm like, "What?" So there's stuff that comes way out of the left field, where you're like, "Oh my god, that's horrible. Don't do that." But, yeah, you're right. There's subtleties and sometimes they use some of the drills to assess things like stride frequency, capabilities, and how much force they can put in the ground vertically, and I'm sure Hank has some great ways of evaluating that, too, even quantifying it better than I do, and just simple things like using video to see if they're hitting the right positions and what their ground contact time is. But again, a lot of the time I'll do this thing where I'll draw like a hashtag on people and I'll say, "Look, these are the joint angles I want." Is it absolutely correct? No, but at least for kids and novice coaches, it gives them some structure and then they can kind of individualize off of that. Now does it have to be to the absolute point whatever degree, and everybody has to be- no, not really. But usually, I think we all know what good sprinting looks like, even the novice can kind of go, "Oh, well, that person looks really good, because they look smooth, they look relaxed, and they're moving fast." So, you know, there's certain things. I really focus on the arms a lot, and if the arms are doing the right things, a lot of the time everything below the waist works pretty well, too. Assuming they're in shape. Are the arms circling back? There's a cue that people say, go to your ear. And I'm like, well, no that's backwards, right? Up and away is usually the term I use. I don't want people to be too backside, like trailing out the back of their- Behind them, right? You want to load up front-side and down. Simple things like that. I don't know. Hank's probably got some more complex explanations for it.

- No.

- As a matter of fact, I try to keep it simple.

- On my end, I think it's the opposite. I do believe, I think the arms matter tremendously because they tell you so much of what's happening neurologically. It gives you such feedback to what's happening from the athlete's rhythm and how they actually move from a coordination standpoint. As far as enhancing the performance, I do think there's definitely benefit, but I don't know if it's as great as what we present at the highest level. At the lower levels, it might be more important just to get their bodies to organize, so that you get it to be more self-organizing, which is very valuable. But I actually teach more backside than I teach front-side, so I'm actually on the opposite side of this spectrum where I actually think that the backside drives the front-side angles, and you're trying to create that hip extension and you want to have that early in the sprint, you want to have long ground count time, because that's what's going to create your power coming out of the gate, and that's just the experience that I have. I've not had success with athletes going front-side, training athletes front-side because maybe the top end of the posture that you're trying to develop, I don't really understand that, so I don't gravitate to that kind of model. I gravitate to a model where the start sets up top end, so I'm an acceleration guy, you know? I'm the guy that goes here fast, and then everybody else beats us. But I do believe that if you're in the right starting position and you start well, you will find a good top end position, and I have not had success coaching that backwards, where it's good top end working down, and I know there's a lot of people that have taught that on the track-side that have had a lot of success with it, and I know quite a few people that do a really good job working backwards off of it. I have not had success with my athletes doing it. I've found it to be a little bit more difficult to coach, and I think that if you could fix the backside, it normally sets up- Unless that's the problem. Unless they are too backsided, then we drive. But I've had way more success, especially in team sports and track, at least for me, because I'm coaching the 60, the 100, and some of the 200, just because of the training nature. But the majority of my guys are 200 and down. They do 400s for training, they'll do some competitions just because of the nature of the training effect, but not necessary at a peaking of competition phase. So, I'm not really as worried about that, and there is also when we look at a movement of valuation standpoint, I have found guys to breakdown more in top end speed. They just start to get going too fast and they breakdown more and there's so much fine tuning and so much maturity that is needed to deal with an athlete to learn how to organize top end speed from a body mechanics standpoint that I look at my career, I started on the blocks, and I might be at that 60 meter mark and coaching, because after that, I don't have a lot of education because I haven't been able to figure that out.

- So basically what I understand is, you have to master, and that applies to any sport, whether it be speed skating or track or whatever, if you understand technically what you want to see on an athlete, then you just adjust to whatever you see on that athlete, what his limitations are, what are his ability, mobility, strength, power, or whatever. So you just adjust according to what you see based on understanding that sport perfectly, right?

- Yeah.


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