It is relatively common to measure and assess the 10 meter splits of elite 100 meter sprinters at large track meets. Track coaches analyze this data to gain insight into how to train for and how to best run the 100 meter sprint with the goal of minimizing the sum of the ten splits.
Lisle High School Track Coach Ken Jakalski wanted to measure the 10 meter splits of high school athletes while competing in a track meet, and he was granted permission to use the Freelap Timing System to acquire 10 meter splits at the 2012 Carlin Nalley Track and Field Invitational. Freelap USA representative Christopher Glaeser attended the invite to provide equipment and assist with the setup and data acquisition.
Prior to the meet, 10 meter chalk marks were placed on the track between lanes five and six using a track measuring wheel. When it was time to run the 100 meters finals, Freelap TX Junior transmitters were placed on each of the chalk marks. A Freelap watch and sprint belt was worn by each of the top two seeds in the 100 meter finals. The table below includes the splits for the ten segments and the total for each athlete.
It is noteworthy that the speed curves for both high school sprinters are quite different from an elite sprinter. In particular, we would expect an elite sprinter to have an acceleration phase, maximum velocity phase, followed by a deceleration phase. As can be seen in the table above, both of the top seed sprinters at this high school invite had two distinct accelerations and deceleration phases. Both athletes hit a plateau in the fifth and then again in the eighth segments.
This leads to several questions. How common is this two-phase acceleration / deceleration among high school and collegiate athletes? And, more important, is it possible to use this information to train these athletes to run more efficient races with improved times?
Special thanks to Ken Jakalski and the timing staff at Lisle High School for conceiving and organizing this timing experiment.
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