Barry, Barry, Barry…


If you’re a fan of quasi-pseudo-science you may find the following blog posts from Barry Ross interesting:

My Theories…Hardly, Part 1

My Theories…Hardly, Part 2

The first of those picks on none other than yours truly as a young technique guru. In it Barry says,

Let’s start with a theory proposed by one of the younger technique gurus. His theory suggests that a runner can be taught to align with the proper force vector while running at high speed, thus optimizing their performance.

Personally, I’m not sure what a running vector looks like at any speed, let alone how one would align with it! If this theory were correct it would be wonderful, but is it even possible?

Let’s take a closer look. Suppose our sprinter-in-training was moving along at a quick 12 plus meters per second. This speedster would be approaching 28 miles per hour at top speed. To get a true sense of what those technique gurus suggest, have someone drive a car at 28 mph with you in the passenger seat. Now stick your head out the window. As you feel the effects of the wind in your face at that speed, find a good landing area (as if you were a sprinter) a few meters in front of the vehicle. Immediately decide which angle of attack you should use in order to provide the proper vector to hit the spot that will maximize performance. I used the term “immediately” because you only have a fraction of a second to make your decision (remember that you’re traveling at more than 12 m per second so that the stride length of 3 m would allow only 1/4 of a second for you to find your landing spot and the appropriate vector before you get to it!). Even if it were possible to do what was suggested above, there are other problems with this theory. Here are a few:

  1. Runners are instructed to look forward not down, so how would they be able to select the proper vector by looking at the finish line?
  2. How would you train yourself to see anything at that rate of speed without running at that rate of speed?
  3. If you cannot run at that rate of speed, how would you recognize the proper vector for that rate of speed?
  4. How could your coach tell you what your proper vector is when you cannot see it yourself?
  5. Is it possible that this part of overall running mechanics is not necessarily trainable? Or is it unnecessary to train?

It turns out that number 5 is the most critical factor in denouncing the theory.

I find it interesting how Barry retreated from this very site, only to return the comforts of his own website after being asked some questions he couldn’t answer. He still has little to no understanding of what a force vector is. What’s more funny, is that every single one of his points was addressed fully in discussion on the ET forum yet he failed to recognize anything that was contrary to his dogmatic beliefs. To see what I’m referring to click here. In addition to getting some answers to the aforementioned questions he left unanswered, I’d also like to to see him address some of the issues posted here regarding Allyson Felix.

Discuss entry

Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
Mike Young


📈Owner @AthleticLab 🏆Perf Dir @theNCCourage ⚽️Fit Coach @NorthCarolinaFC ➡️Proformance 📚Keynote Speaker & Author 📊Sport Science & Research🏃🏾‍♂️T&F 💪🏼S&C 🏋🏽‍♂️WL
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Mike Young
Mike Young