Track and Field

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Despite its importance to success in the long jump, the takeoff has been accorded little attention by sports biomechanists. We conducted a study to determine the characteristics of an athlete's technique that determine the vertical velocity gained during the takeoff. We found that the vasti, soleus and gastrocnemius experienced a lengthening-shortening sequence of actions during the takeoff and that enhancement due to use of the stretch-shorten cycle did not make a significant contribution to the vertical velocity developed via these muscles. Standing and running vertical jumps from a two-feet takeoff were found to involve different modes of muscle action. Running long and vertical jumps and sprinting involve almost identical modes of muscle action. The results of our study of the long jump appear, therefore, to apply to running jumps in general and to sprint running.

Submitted by DMorgan on Tue, 04/10/2007 - 5:51pm.

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Credit to www.elitefts.com In any sport, athletes need to be able to accelerate as quickly as possible to get to the ball or opponent first. As a coach, you must put your athletes in the best possible position to succeed. I’m sure you can tell stories about athletes you’ve seen who haven’t mastered body control or even learned to skip correctly. Now, how are you supposed to teach these athletes proper sprinting mechanics?

Submitted by DMorgan on Fri, 03/23/2007 - 6:11pm.

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www.athletesacceleration.com Acceleration Speed is a product of stride length (the distance your hips travel in a stride) and stride frequency (the number of steps you take in a given time period). However, you will not reach top speed by focusing on increasingly larger steps to increase stride length or taking short, quick steps to increase stride frequency. Instead, top speeds are created by applying 'optimal' force to the ground. Both length and frequency are improved by strength so better strength application results in faster speeds. Really, acceleration training is a form of strength training.

Submitted by DMorgan on Thu, 03/22/2007 - 9:32pm.

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www.coachesinfo.com In track and field athletics, sprint races cover a range of distances from 60m up to 400m.  Under the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) rules such races start from a crouched position in blocks.  There are three main types of crouched positions: the bullet, the medium and the elongated positions (Hay, 1993).  A crouched start is more effective than a standing start as it places the sprinter in a position to move the centre of gravity rapidly well ahead of the feet and thus the runner must accelerate very quickly or else fall (Adrian & Cooper, 1995).  The start, however, must not be thought of as a separate part of the whole race. It is an integral part of the total race and consequently is not distinct from the entire sprinting event.  Stampf (1957:53-54), cited in Barlow & Cooper (1972:27), commented that:

Submitted by DMorgan on Sun, 03/18/2007 - 5:31pm.

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     An outline of speed strength development, looking at traditional weight training methods, time controlled speed strength development and plyometrics. The text is an extract from the author's Level III qualification dissertation under the Australian Track and Field Coaches Association's coaching scheme. Although written for young discus throwers, the speed strength development aspects are applicable to most power events. INTRODUCTION Speed strength is the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce the greatest possible impulse in the shortest possible time. The two aspects to speed strength are starting strength and explosive strength. Starting strength is the force developed in 30ms from the start of a concentric contraction. Explosive strength is the ability to continue the initiated force as fast as possible. The time period is approximately 150ms. It is the maximum rate of force development (RFD) in a maximum isometric contraction. Types of exercises Olympic lifts (snatch and clean) and their derivatives have potential for power outputs higher than the so-called "power" lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift). Other exercises such as bench press throws (using Smith machine) and multiple repetition jump squats may provide an excellent alternative or supplement to the traditional Olympic weightlifting style movements for the development of speed strength and for athletes of lower strength levels. The power produced during jump squats or bench press throws can actually exceed that of the Olympic lifts. Loadings For effective speed strength development a loading of 80-90% of 1RM (2-5 reps) is recommended for Olympic lifts whereas for bench press 50-60% of 1RM is desirable. For the jump squat 30-40% of maximum may be more appropriate. The percentage for jump squats must take into consideration the athletes body weight. For example, a 100kg athlete with a 1RM squat of 180kg has (total system weight 280kg) x 40% = 112kg (only 12kg above body weight). Jump squats for this athlete need only be done with 12kg loading. TRADITIONAL WEIGHT TRAINING METHODS The use of heavy and light loads in the same training session is referred to as the contrasting load method. Russian Complex: The Russian method involves a continual alternating between heavy and light loads in the same training session. Back squats: 2 sets x 2-3 repetitions at 90% of 1RM. The eccentric and concentric movements are executed slowly. Rest 3-4 minutes between sets and 4-6 minutes after second set. Drop jumps: 2 sets of 10 repetitions (height needs to be established to suit the individual). Rest 3-4 minutes between sets. The complex is repeated 2-3 times per training session with 8-10 minutes rest between complexes. Bulgarian method: The Bulgarian method begins with high intensity exercise working down to resistance against body weight. For example: 90% (4) 95% (3) 97.5% (2) 95%(4) 90% (4) (For maximal strength) Rest 3-4 minutes between sets and 5-6 minutes after all sets. Timed squats: Perform as many repetition squats in 10 seconds at 60% intensity. (For explosive strength). Jump squats: Perform as many repetition squats in 10 seconds at 30% intensity. (For explosive power). Jump-ups: Perform as many repetition jumps in 10 seconds without any load. (For speed strength). TIME CONTROLLED SPEED STRENGTH METHODS (TCSSM) TCSSM controls the duration of the rest intervals between the sets and between the repetitions. The duration of rest between sets should be 5 minutes. Taking for example the bench press throw for upper body speed strength development, it is desirable to work in an intensity zone between 50% and 60%. Using TCSSM the number of repetitions are established by feedback of the time per rep and the recovery time between reps. After the first repetition it is important that the second, third and subsequent reps are executed with a speed reduction of below 10% of the first rep in the preparation period and below 5% of the first rep in the competition period. To do this the lift must be done with speed and without deceleration (the reason for bench press throws). If the speed reductions are too great and incompatible with the training goal of speed strength they imply strength endurance loads and induce left transformations of the fibre spectrum. Referring to table 1, if working at 50% of 1RMN the athlete could lift rhythmically up to 5 reps and stay below 10% of speed reduction in the preparation phase but, working at the same intensity in the competition phase, would need a rest between reps of 9 seconds for 5 reps in order to keep the speed reduction below the desired 5%.

Submitted by DMorgan on Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:36am.

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          In 1992 I attended the Junior Elite Distance Camp at Colorado Springs. The featured presenter was Dr. Jack Daniels and one concept he introduced to us I found very intriguing. He said that stride frequency was fairly fixed and idiosyncratic for each runner-that no matter the pace, the frequency was nearly the same, and that, as a runner increased his pace, the variable was stride length. In other words, the runner increased the length of his stride while maintaining the same basic turnover. He claimed that he and his assistants had done exhaustive stride counts at meets to verify this.     This topic did not generate much discussion but I felt its implications were enormous for training principles. I had already switched from a hard- easy training regimen to a balanced one and had relied during cross country season on what we called pick-up runs, but Daniels' claim formed the theoretical basis for what we were already doing. Our balanced system called for lactate threshold runs, or tempo runs, virtually every day.     A few principles became clear to me as a result of this theory:

Submitted by DMorgan on Wed, 02/07/2007 - 11:30am.

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Credit to www.everythingtrackandfield.com A discussion of the lead leg cannot start at the 1st hurdle. It has to begin in the starting blocks. For an 8 step approach in the high hurdles, which is the normal approach for the majority of men and women hurdlers, including elite and word class, the lead leg will be the leg in the back block. The lead leg attack begins with a high knee action and with the foot "dorsi flexed" (toe back toward the knee). This action comes from the hip flexor (quads and groin). When driving the knee into the hurdle, the foot should always stay behind the knee. A locked knee over the hurdle occurs when leading with the foot, which causes a jumping effect and loss of speed. If the knee is held in a locked position during hurdle clearance, a delayed landing will result. Some hurdlers, depending on their size and speed will take more than eight steps to the 1st hurdle or more than three between the hurdles. Some will take off to close to the hurdle with their normal stride. This can cause problems in the future because they will do everything possible to get their lead leg over the hurdle (i.e., drive their leg to the outside of the hurdle or bend their knee to the inside). This habit stays with them once they get stronger and faster, and start taking 8 steps to the 1st hurdle or 3 steps between hurdles. The lead knee should cross the hurdle in a slightly flexed position to ensure an efficient and fast cut down and landing. The lead leg must be lifted and then extended, straight up and down, or the hurdler will land off balance. At the same time the lead leg is lifted, the lead arm or opposite arm is extended forward. It should be driven forward toward the hurdle and not crossed over the body's midline because this will tend to twist the upper body, which in turn, results in a loss of balance and timing. When the lead leg's foot advances over the hurdle and starts downward, the descent phase begins. Strong knee flexor(hamstring and calf) are essential for a fast cut down of the lead leg. As the trail leg comes forward, the equal and opposite reaction is the backward action of the lead arm. If the shoulders are to remain square throughout the flight then these two reactions must be equal. Since the legs have more mass than the arms, the arm must swing wider than the leg to counteract its reaction. This action is terminated as soon as the lead leg hits the ground. The touchdown foot is to be placed in front of the body (6 - 12 inches) at the time of impact with the ground. The ankle needs to be strong to keep the athlete tall upon landing and prevent them from "mushing out" (body collapsing toward the track). LEAD LEG DRILLS All drills should be done with both right and left lead legs. It not only keeps muscles in balance, but teaches athletes to hurdle with both legs. Walking, Skipping, Running Lead Leg Drill Purpose: Serve as warm up prior to hurdle workout and to develop proper lead leg action. Description: Begin with 3 to 5 hurdles spaced at regular hurdle distance. Use a 30" height or lower for beginning hurdlers. Theathlete approaches the hurdles so that the lead leg will go over the side of the hurdle and the trail leg will be in the open lane adjacent to the hurdle. The knee is then driven at the hurdle. As the foot reaches the hurdle top, the lead leg should be forced quickly to the track. For the running drill, the number of steps between hurdles will generally be 5 short quick steps. If the athlete is uncomfortable going over the hurdle, have them move to the outside of the hurdle until they are used to the drill. Common Errors: 1. Straight lead leg. 2. Swinging lead leg to inside or outside. 3. Be sure to emphasize arm action while working on leg action 4. A short hop/step just before lead leg leaves the ground should be discouraged. Wall Drill for Lead Leg Hurdler stands about 1.5 meters from the wall. The lead leg's knee is driven up before the lead foot and the hands are driven at the wall. The hips are kept high and forward during the exercise and the athlete needs to stay on their toes. Common Errors: 1. Failure to keep the hips up and the athlete standing too close to the wall to execute the drill. Lead Knee Kick Ups (quick rhythm drill) Toe comes up (led by lead knee) and touches hurdle board and then quickly back down to the ground. Repeat rapidly. Use correct arm action. Height of hurdles is not important. Sitting Lead Leg (muscular endurance in hip flexor) Sitting on the ground in hurdler's position, lift lead leg off of ground as high as possible, keeping knee bent and foot dorsi flexed. Can either repeat rapidly or hold. Repeat with other leg. Same Leg Walk Overs Set up hurdles so athlete can walk over them with one step. The distance and height should fit athlete. Walk over using same lead leg and trail leg on each hurdle. Concentrate on driving lead knee up and down quickly on the other side of the hurdle. Pause between each hurdle. Repeat with other leg.

Submitted by DMorgan on Tue, 12/12/2006 - 10:19pm.

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Article: “Off Season Strengthening for the Sprinter and Jumper ” It doesn't take an expert coach to figure out the direction a track sprinter and jumper will travel. It is also fairly easy to understand that if sprinting and/or jumping straight ahead are the primary actions to becoming a better sprinter and jumper, then strengthening the muscles that allow the athlete to propel himself forward would be imperative. By increasing the strength of the glutes and hamstrings for greater hip extension power, and by strengthening the quadriceps for greater eccentric load control, making sure the core musculature is strong for the extremities to have a greater foundation to work from and to absorb the ground forces, as well as increasing lower leg and upper body strength we, as coaches, can give our athletes a chance of greater success moving straight ahead.

Submitted by DMorgan on Thu, 07/06/2006 - 6:46pm.

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Republished from www.momentummedia.com  The blink of an eye. For a sprinter, that can be the difference between winning and losing. Races are sometimes decided by hundredths of a second, which is less time than it takes to blink. Shaving such a sliver off a sprinter’s time, however, is the result of months and months of work, much of it in the weight room.

Submitted by DMorgan on Thu, 06/29/2006 - 9:57pm.

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Teaching the Long Jump to Young Jumpers To the average observer the long jump appears to be a rather simple event. Jumpers simply run fast and land as far away as possible from the take off point. Well, basically that is the goal. But it is not that simple.

Submitted by DMorgan on Thu, 04/06/2006 - 1:38pm.

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