Step Count Analysis?


How many steps does it take to get to 10m or 10y? Stride length and stride displacement is not the same. Taking bigger steps could lead to slower times if one overstrides and cutting off the stride could lead to slower times as well. The real question is how much air time does one need to load the stretch reflexes of acceleration, something that most people believe is more strength than elasticity. Based on the high frame rate analysis and equipment such as Optogait, we can see what the best times and performances do with each step, but how they created each step with regards to specific joint actions. What about if someone just has an iPhone or other smart device? Here are some hints I learned from some smart coaches.

Observe- Watch the athlete live. Have the athlete watch themselves. Watch in slow motion and again at normal speed. Are the athletes doing the gross things correctly? Look for full arm stroke and posture and let the legs dictate what your body does after begin set-up correctly. All you can do is set up the body and how much stiffness and power is based on what you have that day so don’t over-coach it.

Time- Getting timed is the most important to know if athletes are getting faster, not just looking fast. Many athletes with fast limbs don’t always perform well. Many times we see fast movement of the limbs but get fooled with fast movement of the body in motion. Time 10s and 20s and even 30s. A strong 30 indicates a steady 10m. But a great 10m average is just as important. I export the entire practice and see if the athlete is getting systematically faster, not just getting a good one in on occasion.

Measure- Measure joint angles and distances of foot landings, not counting steps. Besides how many true steps are exactly landing on the line? Dartfish has measurement tools to get a good indication of distance away and this can be compared with timing systems such as freelap. I measure ear to toe in relation to the ground during first contact. Other options are right before toe off. Whatever is easy to look at on video is a good idea. Doing every rep takes forever, especially with groups so I like timing and using just the first three steps and making sure times match.

Review- How many 5 step 10y do we see in the NFL combine? With the fastest athletes usually being timed where are the 5 step monsters? It’s best to reflect on the breadth of athletes who have run 4.3s or faster and see how they did it. I am not seeing bounding I am seeing deep pushing with low heel recovery. Changing history means looking at history and history tells us nobody is taking 5 steps and running fast.

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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