Weapons of Math Construction (The Push Part II)


How to Push 5.47

accelerationI am very sure that their is a better method of pushing a sled but I will share my thoughts on what has worked in the past as history is more important than theory. What I do know is a former Division II level basketball player can push 5.47 without drugs (but a obnoxious regeneration budget similar to Dara Torres does help!) with the help of iMovie, a calculator, ping pong balls, tape, and a lot of nootropic agents. The main point is to only measure when the strength qualities are sufficient, or the data will be corrupted by lack of gross power. The same with fatigue, and given that the pilots run the show, I pray that coaches construct microcycles reflect the need for rest and recovery and loading parameters. I hope she will decide soon what country she will represent if she decides to commit to the sport long term.

  1. Videotape great individual performances among many performers and see what all of them do universally. The problem with many athletes that look at video is that they look at what people do differently. The differences could be innovation, an anomaly with phantom benefits, or idiosyncrasy to that athlete only.
  2. Take the common traits and create your own naming convention if their is not one present. Many times a motion that is unique but repeated by many is not labeled, therefore perceived as unimportant. This can be further from the truth. Document every step and create a metric grid to compare effective execution. Look at the runs with mistakes and create a list of faults as well.
  3. Export the raw data as numbers don’t lie. Context is important but remember that the final data crunch will be at the olympics or team trials. Analyze the data and create visual graphs for projecting formulas such as proposed theoretical models based on a lot of number sets. Say 8 or more athletes with top performances.
  4. Create a checklist from the first motion on (including the set-up as that will determine the entire push as well.) and see what is being executed and what needs to be executed. Also included in columns is the athletes segmental strength and kinetic chain strength numbers, anthropometry of the both the skeleton and general body landmarks, and sled dimensions.
  5. Constants. Read Wilbur Ross’s hurdler’s bible for a brief biomechanics example of hurdling to get an idea of what needs to get done. Oddly the sleds are for the pilots and the brakemen are interchangeable. If I was the CEO of a federation I would reverse this completely. Remember the track blocks are adjusted for the athlete based on the qualities the athlete has. The sled is not modified for the purpose of the brakemen as the handle with and height are not calibrated. We can’t change the distance, gravity, weight, or current state of the body. The only elements you can change are the force application details.
  6. The flight times and ground contact times are similar but not the same. Due to the fact the brakeman is running with the sled and holding on, flight path of the center of mass will be less than sprinting. This will force an artificial locomotive change that may overload unnatural joint angles that are not prepared from general training. This is obvious in the later phase but early some differences are noted by step 1 and how the shoulders roll up and down will determine how force is transmitted.
  7. Departure angle is based on the fact the sled must go parallel with the ice, unlike track where inertia and the track blocks are the only factors besides the body of the sprinter. This angle is unique to the athlete based on the length of the arms and angle off the ankle (metatarsals and raw power). The resultant force on the sled must not disturb the optimal scores of shear adhesive strength and compressive yield strength by placing the force downward at the nose. The coefficient of friction formula of metal and ice from U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Labor is outdated as they are not using nanotechnology. If I was Japan, I would exploit this for 2010 by listening to their researchers. The departure angle includes the the tibia all the way up to the traps as the fascia slingshots the sled further from the stored stiffness of the pretension before one hits the sled.
  8. The step pattern will need rapid stiffness in the ankle joint and very acute angles. Such angles will become more aggressive as the athlete improves their quad strength and reactivity of their lower limbs. If one uses the same angles shared by a stronger male, this may cause lateral stepping and overloading the adductor group. If the step pattern is closer to mid line the tibia will roll instead of piston up and down, increasing ground contact time and slowing horizontal velocity.
  9. Measure time and landing patterns as coaches should record loading profiles of various athletes. Skill work does involve the entire physiological system and should be schemed properly. How this interacts with the training is proprietary.
  10. The driver’s posture and power depicted in Armin Kibele research on male students is roughly the needed critieria of women’s bobsled as they were on average 78 kilos. The University of Freiburg subjects gave some insight that the combination of the two bobsleigh athletes must use a little bit of trial and error to figure out what the drivers should have in terms of performance characteristics.

Part III will include training and competition comparisons between a national level bobsleigh athlete calendar and one that is approaching the development privately with international assistance.

A special thanks to Coach Baumann for his charts and data. The above illustration comes from the scrum training manufacturer, device from the previous post, not something I use myself but I like the thinking behind the idea. Please don’t use those angles.
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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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