By Lisle Track Coach Ken Jakalski
This video shows athletes starting at a certain point on the track based on their individual ASR speed regression calculation. Instead of running a set distance in particular time, they are trying to cover a specific distance within that time.
There are many advantages and benefits to this kind of approach to repetition work:
- Athletes know that, from where they are placed on the track, when the scoreboard time gets to “Zero,” they need to be at the finish line.
- Developmental athletes are working just as hard to achieve their individual goals as their faster counterparts.
- Workouts are individualized, but still competitive within the team.
- I don’t need any watches.
- The kinds of things coaches do while athletes are running (verbal encouragement) I can do from the press box. They hear me all the time and not just when they come back around to me.
- The scoreboard clock gives them a clear idea of where they are from one repeat to the next. For example, if they’ve fallen off after the second or third rep, they will know where the fall-off is occurring–and by how much.
- When they are on the backstretch and not facing the scoreboard, announcing the times further helps them determine how many seconds to completion.
- Recovery is never an issue; the they all have the same recovery time, but the staggered start removes the issue of the top guys finishing well ahead of the rest of the team, and the coach in a dilemma about when to start the next repeat. If it’s too long, it’s not good for the top guys. If recovery is too short, you’re making it harder on the developmental guys to perform well on the next rep.
Another big benefit…they have nobody to complain to down on the field. And they know I don’t want to hear any complaints (things like “coach, I don’t think I can get back to the finish line on the next one”) That’s one big reason why I like to be up in the press box.
Something Christopher has mentioned Dennis Mitchell saying about the value of Freelap: Athletes own their time.
I’ve always believed that is an extremely important concept. When my athletes wear a Freelap watch, they have complete ownership of what that watch eventually reveals. When they are watching the countdown clock on the scoreboard, they are responsible for whatever distance it takes to complete their goal before the horn sounds.
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