A few months ago, I gave a small seminar in which one topic was How to Race the 200 meters. The video slideshow clip is about 10 minutes long and I posted it on YouTube (more videos to be added). You can download the MP4 file here for your iPhone or computer if you prefer offline viewing.
All I did was add a microphone input to my laptop that was showing the slides, hit “record”, and and started presenting. Honestly, I don’t know why presenters don’t know this trick, or why they offer the slides without audio afterwards. Maybe it’s a secrecy thing, or maybe they got compensated by the LOC, so they don’t want to give it away for free.
In any case, I’m all for free stuff and for sharing. You’ll just have to put up with my sarcasm and occasional arrogance in the video below!
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There was one minor omission. Afterwards, I realized I forgot to address how to actually run the curve, as I only addressed the block setup.
So I’ll present that tomorrow.
Here’s a rebuttal to your video. Interesting!
Jimson Lee says
The PAUSATF has great coaches, such as Dave Shrock and Ken Grace. However, I have absolutely no idea who Alexander “Coach Al” Hill is. Anybody know? Credentials?
Preface: I believe in forgiveness and that I myself make mistakes all the time, many serious ones, as compared to this perhaps petty issue I am about to address. Coach Al, if you are reading this, know that I view the quest for truth as a team effort, and that apparently illogical teachings must be contested, or we will never approach the truth.
I don’t care what his credentials are: Coach Al uses faulty logic and butchers the application of Physics in some of his most important points. Regarding Jimson’s explanation, I think it is probably very good advice – it makes logical sense, especially for developmental athletes, and does not defy physics. Unfortunately, for Coach Al…
First, according to modern Physics, Coach Al’s “slingshot theory” is bogus. Ironically, though he claims to have the true understanding, he totally misunderstands force vectors (particularly relating to angular velocity) and mis-applies them, leading to his construction of the concept of a physics-defying “elastic rebound” effect at the exit of the arc (i.e. curve of the track).
Pragmatically, the reality is that we are working with straight-forward force vectors, which transition from operation in 3 dimensions while on the curve to 2 dimensions at the exit of the curve/entrance of the straight.
A body in motion stays in motion, even if that means along a tangent when released from an arc that has been caused by centripetal force. Coach Al does not appear to fully understand the nature of angular velocity. He claims that velocity suddenly increases due to some “slingshot” effect. The truth is that the projectile from a swing-type slingshot exits the arc at the exact same speed at which it was revolving around the center of the orbit.
One difference between running on a Track and using a real-life slingshot is that the person using the slingshot has the luxury to make an *extra* effort of extended impulse just before the projectile is released. This extra impulse climactically takes full advantage of the elastic potential of the thrower’s body. Actually, this is a technique used by field events athletes.
Unfortunately for runners, there is no “impulse reserve” of sorts available while running near top speed: Nearly every last bit of ability is already being used to achieve top speed. Even if the runner were to run slightly slower than top speed, then hit the gas, any genuinely “elastic” effects would be infinitesimal. The only exceptions while running near top speed are climactic-impulse actions. (Um, I think I just created a term. Sorry, I don’t know the correct terminology here…)
Some applications of climactic-impulse action at the *end* of a run include LJ, TJ, HJ and dunking a basketball. In order to create any significant potential for elastic rebound, the athlete must first dip downward to coil himself, at least slightly. …and what happens to the forward speed of such action? The athlete comes to a complete stop in the middle of the landing pit or on top of the cheerleaders. …not a good thing to do when you have 85m to go from the exit of the curve.
However, for the runner exiting the curve/entering the straight… The sudden elimination of the centripetal effort (3rd dimension) required by the curve may *feel* (both physiologically and psychologically) like a slingshot effect *because* the athlete suddenly feels lighter and can run faster. Centripetal force while running (i.e. running on the inside of a curvature; think “concave”) gives similar effect to running in a stronger gravitational field, like running on a planet larger than Earth. For the runner, who must spend energy to exert vertical force, a stronger gravitational field requires more energy to be spent per second in order to move at the same speed as “on Earth”. After the curve, 100% of the athlete’s forces are finally *only* needed to be applied to the vertical and forward/backward dimensions; no longer “borrowed” for centripetal use (that 3rd dimension). This transfer of force application allows the runner to achieve a higher [linear] velocity, released from the chains of angular velocity. Thus, athletes are inherently able to run faster on straights than on curves.
Actually, the runner may experience, with *every* step while running a curve, and depending upon the type of rubber, a near-microscopic level of “shear recoil” of sorts from the 1/2″ of rubber beneath the feet and perhaps in the leg muscles. …but this “terrain elasticity” would also be experienced in the other 2 dimensions when running on the straights!
Conclusion: The notion of some sort of “energy return” due to some sort of “elasticity of curve exit” is absolute bogus. In other words, “slingshot theory” is false.
Suggestions for further reading:
Going back to the basics, *pacing* is extremely important and that is why Jimson has written this blog article. The core difference between the methodologies of Jimson and Coach Al is that Jimson says to do something closer to “even pacing”, while Coach Al says to do something closer to “blast and wane”. Whose technique is better? I don’t know enough about physiology to give a good answer. Yet. …but I do know that Coach Al’s reasoning is obviously faulty.
Which brings us to the topic of “pacing”…
Second, Coach Al uses the example of a female elite runner who went too slow on the curve in a first 200m race, then faster on the curve in a later race and got a better time. He failed to explain why the woman ran slower in the first race. It appears that he never contacted her to ask her why, nor did he cite any explanation from her. We have no idea why. Maybe she had a bad start. Maybe she got off balance. Maybe she got distracted by a wedgie. Maybe she just plain went too freaking ridiculously slow, so slow that even going all-out would have been better. I have no idea.
Also, Coach Al’s article is riddled with language errors. I find it difficult to *academically* respect someone who claims to be scholarly and authoritative, yet consistently makes elementary spelling and grammatical errors — not typographical errors, but genuinely ignorant, elementary language errors. Blogging for the purpose of authoritative communication is a high skill and requires command of the language. I don’t blog because I do not wish to present any material at this time, plus I may not have the skills necessary to do it efficiently. Anyway, maybe Coach Al is an idiot savant like me, the proportion of his strengths and weaknesses being the inverse of mine. I think that I lack social skills. Maybe he is a great coach in person, except when it comes to technical detail (especially physics-related concepts).
Jimson, I do appreciate your well-rounded abilities, which include quality writing skills – you are a “talented outlier” in this business. Thank you for sharing so much good with us.
Finally, again, God knows I need forgiveness! Heck, I may be wrong in something I have said here. If anyone believes anything I have said is untrue, then please let me know so I can learn from it. As my coach says, “Upward and onward!”
I thought my comment did not get recorded, so I posted again.
Unfortunately, now there is redundancy in a very long comment and people may not even realize it until they finish my first post.
Could you please delete my first comment and keep the second?
Jimson Lee says
@Jimmy, no problem, correct comment adjusted. And by the way, thanks for the compliment on being a good writer! English is not my mother tongue, and I don’t consider myself a great writer. I wish I had an Editor, as I know I make a lot of grammar mistakes.
Does anyone remember the Pop group The Carpenters? I think Karen Carpenter has one of the best voices in the world. But she considered herself as a drum player first, and thought she had an “ordinary” voice.
That being said, I rather be known a good coach who Blogged, rather than a Blogger who coached.
I also rather see my athletes succeed in Life skills first, and Track accomplishments second. I value my friendships in track way more than all the medals and team championships over the past few decades.
Thanks! And I totally forgot to mention that I think your video is a great piece of education, especially for someone like me (background = distance running).
Haha the Carpenters! ;D I think your level of displayed language proficiency is just right. Nothing annoying, yet you keep your wordings from sounding wooden. I don’t see any reason to change.
Regarding the blogger who coached and coach who blogged… I feel like a scientist who coaches. The 2 roles initiated simultaneously, yet independently. Long story. Thank you for mentioning this idea. I needed the reality check. The good news is that I have a lot of room for improvement! The bad news is that I have a lot of room for improvement… Time to focus upon the good news.