When to break the rules


Coach Vick posted some great thoughts on resisted sprints with sleds and questioned the 10% rule. When something innovative or new comes along I am completely open but skeptical because often people believe they have stumbled on something other’s didn’t grasp or think of. The question is can we use acceleration protocols that are not following the guidelines of the coaches before us regarding hill slopes and weights of sleds. My answer is did you try the original methods first and if so did you record the data? Observation is sometimes an illusion and often each year we change more than one tiny variable so we must be careful of what to extrapolate. If I did the exact same program the next year with the same athlete the results will be different. Remember training builds session to session, and season to season.

When I look at hills and sleds I look at what I can modify. I can’t adjust hills besides run up speeds and distances but it’s easier to adjust sled weights. Coach Vick shares that he has found loads that are heavier to be more effective for the early part of the acceleration. The real question is would heavier olympic lifting and squatting help more than speed strength qualities of the sleds? Why add tomato juice and not big prize winning tomatoes? Perhaps advanced athletes already have a bigger engine and the hit a genetic ceiling, but after watching a few training facilities with HS and College kids this summer I don’t think we have a problem there. Perhaps it’s safety? People fear the heavy lifts nowadays so getting stronger is many times taboo.

Squatting disturbs the sprint kinetics and kinematics but who compares? When you have the chance to sprint to work on global speed who sprints anymore? Heavy sleds or prowler seems to be all the rage, what performance changes are we seeing world wide? Keep in mind anything that doesn’t hurt an athlete or cause extreme fatigue is likely to help performance as showing up is half the battle. When I was debating on the use of magnet therapy in the 90s everyone was calling me a non-believer because I didn’t have a bracelet or magnetic insole and where are the proponents now? So in summary I think you can go more than 10% but it’s not doing a better job because that difference washes out with other factors in overcoming inertia such as the force generated in the olympic lifts. I have yet to see data or film on 180 FPS sharing a superior measure but anything you do that helps is good in my book. Still you got to prove it, and doing more weight may help but doesn’t those that use more weight somewhere else deserve the same comparison?

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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