Importance of First 2 Steps vs First 7 steps

I wrote about Seven Strides for the First 10 meters back in 2010, where most sprinters reached 10 meters on their 7th step.  Of course, the anomaly is Usain Bolt where he takes 6 strides to cover 10 meters.

At my level of coaching, the minimum distance I get my guys to run accelerations is 10 meters, and making a mental note on that 7th step.

I try to analyze those first 7 steps and see what went right and what went wrong.

In the updated edition of Bud Winter’s The Rocket Sprint Start, we analyze the first 3 steps from the 1950’s, Armin Hary’s 1960 rocket start, and today’s Jamaican start.

So as far as speed work goes, we work on acceleration development all year long, and I usually look at the first 10 meters or 7 steps to analyze and dissect where I can improve.

Steve Fudge on James Dasaolu

But how about the first 2 steps?

With todays high-definition cameras and video analysis software, we can do things today that didn’t exist 20 years ago.

If you are following the 100m, you probably remember James Dasaolu’s recent 9.91 (+1.1)

Here is the video on YouTube and take a look at his first 2 steps:

Team GB Coach Steve Fudge said in a recent interview with Simon Hart of the Telegraph:

“We saw at the Diamond League [Birmingham meet] that he had a little flinch in the blocks and his first two steps out of the blocks weren’t right,”

If James doesn’t get the first two steps out of the blocks right, his race is basically over because, as he transitions, he then doesn’t get into the right position and he gets worse and worse and worse.”

“It’s like the butterfly effect. You make one little mistake at the start and it will filter through the whole 100 meters. We basically worked on James’s first two steps to get them right. As soon as he took one step in his race, Paul [Bryce] and I knew that he was going to do what he did.”

“The reason is that after each meeting we sit down in a room together, look at the race and really focus in on what James can do better,”


When you start breaking 10.00 seconds for the 100 meters, every single detail has to be scrutinized.  Everything from training load, recovery, nutrition, mental confidence, soft tissue health, and of course, the first 2 steps en route to 45 steps (give or take a few steps)

I look forward to seeing the next generation of sprinting try to beat Usain Bolt, and that includes GBR’s James Dasaolu, France’s Jimmy Vicaut, Italy’s Michael Tumi and Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu.

Moscow 2013 will be great.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • What was wrong with the first two steps? The only thing I notice is that he “chopped” them and didn’t drive and “stride” out.

    • I agree, I don’t see much. What strike me more is the left right asymmetry. His left harm pass his middle line after the drive phase and it get worst and worst. It doesn’t seems to have too much impact though.

  • I would like to know if anyone (Senior/Vets) out there gets Coaching time similar to the one mentioned above, and if so, how do you manage to attain that because this is a definite extreme 1-1 basis in our world.

    Great column and analysis Jimson

  • Yes, good article. We also look at the 1st seven steps in relation to 10m and time using Sprint Timer. Also twelve and sixteen contacts for 20 and 30 meters respectively.