Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by Jimson Lee
I am a firm believer that in order to sprint faster, you have sprint.
But that doesn’t mean having to run repeat 100m to race the 100m.
In fact, short distances are best. Up to 7 seconds for speed, and between 15-40 seconds for speed endurance. (I’m over simplifying things here)
Photo credits: AFP
But we all know about the start, and using starting blocks. The start sets you up for the entire race. It’s a chain reaction – a bad start will lead to a bad drive phase, which will lead to a bad transition, and ultimately a bad top end speed and bad speed endurance!
I traditionally have used 10m, 20m, and 30m for starts and acceleration development.
The key to speed development is, Don’t Trash the CNS (central nervous system). Read on…
It’s All in the Start?
But is sprint success really all in the start?
Sprinting is all about specific application of force, and biomechanics. It’s all about
the correct posture for that step, and the correct use of levers. There is nothing you can do in the air, so it all comes down to the force at ground contact, and preparing your body whilst in the air.
That being said, doing sprint drills is great, as repetition is the mother of skill.
Once that gun goes off, every single movement is scrutinized to get the body in the optimal position for that ground contact and that next stride. You only have 45-50 steps anyways :)
So if you want to practice the start, 10m is a good start. Or that may be too much? Most sprinters take 8 strides to 10m, Elite sprinters take 7 strides.
Dafne Schippers Start Drills
Prior to the 2016 Indoor WC in Portland, Bart Bennema (coach of Dafne Schippers), said (link to article here)
“there is no short cut to improving starts; it’s just a case of putting in a lot of hard work on small improvements to technique and then practicing. A lot.”
“Schippers worked on her body position as she crouches ready to spring into action”
”How she is setting in the blocks and how she gets out of the blocks, the first two, three steps (are crucial). Just by doing it … and just repeat. It’s as simple as that. Over and over again. It’s repetition.”
So, the moral of the story is:
- Do just enough drills to be necessary & effective. Henk Kraaijenhof quotes “train as much as necessary (to improve, and to win), but not as much as possible!”
- Don’t trash the CNS by overdoing Volume and Intensity (or both!)