Found some things in print the other day that I figured would be relevant to this thread since the topic has somewhat been brought up again on the Supertraining listserv. I thought these were relevant some try to ignore or misinterpret much of what Dr. Mann’s research on sprinting has to say about mechanics.
Question: The casual fan may think that track is about running fast. How important is biomechanics?
Ralph Mann Answer: Sprinting is not a natural movement. In mechanical terms, it is much different than casual running. We have filmed and analyzed more than 600 of the best sprinters since 1982, and they all display the same mechanics- some better than others, but there is only one way to sprint fast.
Question: What can young runners learn from biomechanics?
Ralph Mann Answer: All of research and all of the years of application have shown us that if an athlete is to be successful at the level that we are seeking to achieve, no area of performance can be ignored. Since it has become evident that the development of explosive strength and the proper mechanics to deliver the power are the two most critical factors in sprint performance, ignoring either will guarantee that the athlete will not achieve their performance potential.
Any serious sprinter needs to find a coach that understands the mechanics of sprinting (circa 2008), as well as all of the other performance factors involved.