No other issue regarding technique and mechanics for enhancing speed remains as controversial as the contribution of arm swing to faster sprinting. Even the world’s top coaches and researchers have different opinions on this issue.
My athletes used a 1970s-era isokinetic device called the Leaper as a rack for their warmups. It didn’t offer enough progressive challenges. Split jumps solve that problem. There are several variations to keep interest high.
The prevalence of injuries among young athletes before and during the early 2000s were likely a consequence of the lack of proper assessment. Concerned about this situation, a notable athlete began coaching and instituting several types of assessments as he moved into personal training. He’s currently self-evaluating three relatively new methods to make his methodology even more reliable.
Solid research suggests that the training modality for the 800 as “middle distance” is erroneous. Many experts now regard the event as a long sprint. As such, the key is developing the ability to reduce the falloff in speed as much as possible.
Much of what was once considered gospel in coaching sprinters has been subject to revision or even outright abandonment in recent years. Other concepts, however, have come full circle—acceptance, rejection, reacceptance. It is important to keep an open mind in evaluating everything—or “load six” in the parlance of the Old West. That is, less absolute certainty and more willingness to consider the viewpoints of other coaches with whom we share the game goal: faster, more powerful runners.
As we look at the bio-psycho-social approach to training high school athletes, “psycho” and “social” may be as equally important as “bio.” So-called “fluff” in programs is often part of a firm foundation along with the most advanced technical knowledge. Some may call it a placebo, but it’s hard to ignore the positive results it achieves.
Illinois Hall of Fame coach Tony Holler lays down the law as he sees it in his quest to promote sprinting. Periodization is one of his targets. He says there are just two seasons: football and track.
I often tell my athletes that track running is a lot like NASCAR—run fast, turn left, repeat as necessary. But why do we turn left on a track? The question may well be related to why we turn left in a lot of activities.
This article highlights Ken Jakalski’s evolution to the Weyand/Bundle Speed Regression Algorithm in his efforts to provide guess-free time and distance goals for individual bouts of high speed sprinting. The author analyzes how his journey began in the mid 70’s when he first experimented with the evaluation indicators Russian coach Valentin Petrovski developed in training Valeri Borzov, the 1972 Olympic Champion in the 100 and 200 meter dash. While Petrovki’s projections were based on the actual performances of Soviet and foreign sprinters and adjusted over time, the Bundle/Weyand algorithm is based on extensive research revealing how the performance duration curve in sprinting is due to force impairment. It can predict high speed running performances with 97% accuracy.
When selecting speed training devices for use in a sprint program coaches should consider cost benefit, their knowledge of the device and its application, the potential for injury, workflow efficiency, and assessment of the effectiveness of the device.