Is Sprint Technique Training Necessary?

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  • Vern Gambetta
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    Vern Gambetta on #12416

    Stefan Ijmker wrote: “Some Mass-spring model adherents say that technique training should be dropped. (for example look at http://www.bearpowered.com ). Is this controversial?” I do not know if it is controversial, but I need to see what their reasoning is. If they mean what we traditionally consider technique training, endless Mach Drills done incorrectly then I would agree. I need to go th

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    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #68023

    Proponents of the 'no-technique-needed' philosophy are really missing the boat and have a very poor understanding of physics and are completely misinterpretting the Weyand study. The idea that force is the most important factor in sprinting and technique is important are not incompatible. In fact, they are inseparable. Two main misunderstandings seem to exist:

    1. Force is a vector. It has magnitude and direction. You can apply all the force you want but if it isn't applied in the appropriate direction it won't matter. This is where technique comes in to play.
    2. Technique affects even the rawest form of force development. When sprinting with optimal technique muscles are eccentrically loaded and ranges of motion are increased thus increasing the functional capacity of a muscle to generate force / speed. 

    While I agree that sprint drills aren't the best means to develop technique, sprinting mechanics can definitely be developed in those athletes who do not already exhibit optimal technique. It's hard for me to believe people actually buy in to these B.S. ideas.

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    jcissik on #59427

    I feel like some of this is an understandable backlash.  It seems that a lot of people focus too much, in some cases exclusively, on the ABC drills to get faster.  I'm still going to strength and conditioning presentations about those.  Those drills are the "secret" to speed.  So now you have a camp in response that says that those drills are not what is important to speed. 

    It seems like both camps have studies, videos, books, speakers, famous examples, etc.  It takes on the qualities of a religous debate sometimes. 

    When it comes to a lot of these marketable training philosphies (sprinting, weight training, periodization approaches, etc.) a lot of people lose sight of the fact that much of this is about marketing.  If I can create a market and be the dominant voice out there, then people will be exposed to my product and will purchase it.  The more outrageous my claims are, the more likely you'll take notice and purchase my product.  The free market system works…

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    utfootball4 on #59428

    interesting topic, i sometimes think tech is overrated because u can drill, drill, coach, coach, an athlete tech stuff but once u increase the running speeds or get into competion he/she will always convert back to whats natural to them. i once seen a coach who tried to teach a runner to run with heel/knee/toe up pos and every single time they increase speeds or was in tough races he would always convert back to his old running form. i never want my athletes to think, just perform!!!

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    flow on #59429

    …[b]i never want my athletes to think, just perform!!![/b]

    thats what technique training is about…  an athlete has mastered a technique when this movement pattern becomes natural to him.  thinking becomes unnecessary.  if you have a guy who just learned the crawl swim 400m  his technique will suffer greatly when fatigued.  same guy with mastered proper technique will be able to keep up the form.

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    cerebro on #59430

    I think you need technique work regularly, but it is very hard to make huge improvements with some athletes. Look at Leonard Scott or Justin Gatlin. I am sure their coaches would like them running much cleaner and I would bet they even work on it in practice. Every race though you see Leonard Scott looking like he got shot part way down the track and you see Gatlin practically bounding and overstriding like crazy on each stride (not so much in '06, but previously).

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    flow on #59431

    mabe its because of weird body composition?  make a ligament too short here,  a tendon too hard there and you cant run relaxed in an optimal position.  donno…

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    utfootball4 on #59432

    I think you need technique work regularly, but it is very hard to make huge improvements with some athletes. Look at Leonard Scott or Justin Gatlin. I am sure their coaches would like them running much cleaner and I would bet they even work on it in practice. Every race though you see Leonard Scott looking like he got shot part way down the track and you see Gatlin practically bounding and overstriding like crazy on each stride (not so much in '06, but previously).

    and both guys are blazing fast, develop power and other factors and u will still have a fast athlete, i hate to say i agree with barry and those guys on tech is much overrated.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #59433

    When it comes to a lot of these marketable training philosphies (sprinting, weight training, periodization approaches, etc.) a lot of people lose sight of the fact that much of this is about marketing.  If I can create a market and be the dominant voice out there, then people will be exposed to my product and will purchase it.  The more outrageous my claims are, the more likely you'll take notice and purchase my product.  The free market system works…

    I agree but it's still mind-boggling how vehemently they defend their position in spite of an overwhelming quantity of facts to the contrary. It's also hard to understand how many people fall for their schpeel.

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    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #59434

    [b]i never want my athletes to think, just perform!!![/b]

    I want them to think in practice…not in a competition. The phenomenon you mentioned is a fundamental principal of motor learning. Those athletes who tend to degrade under pressure or increased have not truly learned the movement patterns at those speeds. These are controlled processes that require some level of cognitive effort to perform. Over many repetitions these movement patterns become automatic to the point that they do not degrade under pressure or at higher velocities and they require little if any cognitive effort. This is the mark of an expert…they can perform movements efficiently with little conscious thought and make small adjustments to the movement patterns on the fly and as needed. To me this is one of the primary benefits of running a high intensity sprint protocol versus running lots of tempo work. Sprinting skills are somewhat velocity dependent. Running efficiently is much easier at slower velocites. This is true for almost all movement patterns.

    So what I'm trying to accomplish as a coach is to have a general technical model that is as simple, flexible, and easy to administer as possible, coach athletes in practice to achieve that model to the point that it becomes automatic and requires little cognitive effort to achieve, and finally have athletes compete with the technical model that they have rehearsed under similar scenarios (most importantly high speeds) without spending any cognitive effort to achieve it. IMO it is only under this scenario that an athlete can max out their potential. If an athlete is either deviating from the technical model or having to consciously think to achieve the technical model in a competition then less than ideal results will result.

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    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #59435

    [quote author="cerebro" date="1164121782"]
    I think you need technique work regularly, but it is very hard to make huge improvements with some athletes. Look at Leonard Scott or Justin Gatlin. I am sure their coaches would like them running much cleaner and I would bet they even work on it in practice. Every race though you see Leonard Scott looking like he got shot part way down the track and you see Gatlin practically bounding and overstriding like crazy on each stride (not so much in '06, but previously).

    and both guys are blazing fast, develop power and other factors and u will still have a fast athlete, i hate to say i agree with barry and those guys on tech is much overrated.
    [/quote]I'm not sure why but for some reason I think these guys could probably run fast no matter what their technique looked like. I don't think they are the best example for this argument.

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    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #59436

    I actually thought Gatlin's technique was very good when he was with Vince Anderson. Then he switched to the biggest doping coach in recent history, his technique deteriorated yet his performances increased….then he got busted…..coincidence?

    In a nutshell I think performance can be improved from two areas: technical and physical capacity. You can get better by improving one and getting worse on the other as long as the gain in one exceeds the dropoff in the other. If you've got someone who has a big engine AND runs very efficiently (like Ben, Maurice or Powell) then you see great times.

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    coachformerlyknownas on #59437

    I can't see why both processes won't work together!

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #59438

    I can't see why both processes won't work together!

    That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. If you've got good mechanics and a big motor then you'll run really fast….simple as that. Training should be aimed at improving both.

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    senri on #59439

    so does this explain, why max lifts in the weight room will mean nothing if you didnt do any form of sprint training, since the body does not know how to properly apply such forces to begin with? ANd if its true how long do you propose does the human body take to adapt to sudden strength increases manifested to power? Speaking of which this is my porblem and where i live this is common, because it rains 24/7 no indoor gym always cold hard to warm up etc. I use school gyms with the club to train and the length is no longer then 15-10m at the schools, the high schools they cant afford for the week cause its to expensive for the club.

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