Sprint Drills

Posted In: The Classics

  • Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #8502

    On another thread, a question about the technique for Mach Bs was made. Mach Bs can be performed various ways depending on the goal (dynamic flexibility enhancement, sprint cue development, hip strength, etc.) but here’s the way that is probably the closest simulation of what happens in sprinting: hit a Mach A position and then rapidly accelerate the thigh down. This rapid and forceful acceleration will result in the lower leg “opening up” at the knee joint. Ground contact should be made close to under the center of mass.

    Comments??

    ELITETRACK Founder

    Avatar
    Participant
    jjh999 on #21329

    Use it all the time…

    Avatar
    Participant
    scroft on #21330

    Bravo!

    I sometimes demonstrate the idea by standing and pushing down with both hands on the thigh to show the idea.

    Avatar
    Participant
    slantedp on #21331

    Excellent coaching cue Mike, I think it important emphasise apply force to the ground during drills…some athletes look pretty during drills and do no apply force on the downward movement…this is an opportunity to learn the proper taechnique….and how to apply more force to the track.

    Avatar
    Participant
    2belite on #21332

    [i]Originally posted by SlantedP[/i]
    Excellent coaching cue Mike, I think it important emphasise apply force to the ground during drills…some athletes look pretty during drills and do no apply force on the downward movement…this is an opportunity to learn the proper taechnique….and how to apply more force to the track.

    I could not disagree anymore.
    1st. When sprinting or doing drills the foot lands ahead of the COM so hitting the ground harder or with more force will still result in breaking forces. You cannot apply force to the track in a positive way with your foot ahead of your COM, so there is no way the B drill is great for teaching technique.
    2nd. The "opening up" of the lower leg in sprinting is more the result of a violent change of directioning than a forcefull acceleration of the thigh down. Therfore trying to duplicate the action with B drills (when there is no quick foward drive of the flexed leg) is a waste of time.

    Avatar
    Participant
    coachformerlyknownas on #21333

    Are Mach B drills utilized more for work preparation than as a specific sprint mechanism? If not, what drills might be as effective for emulating an alactic sprint activity (aside from sprint bouts themselves)?

    Avatar
    Participant
    sprinter95 on #21334

    Everyone knows that landing infront of your com causes a braking affect!!!

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #21335

    Everyone is right here :saint:. 2belite is right in saying that ground contact occurs in front of the COM. This is pretty much an inevitability of running when you're a human :(. However, everyone else who commented about minimizing the distance between the point of ground contact and the plumb line beneath the COM is also correct. In all, braking forces are inevitable but minimizing them is one of the biggest factors for improved performance in the sprints.

    As for the rest of 2belite's comments, I'm a little divided. While I don't think sprint drills are a great way to develop sprint mechanics in and of themselves, they can provide a method of teaching specific cues about specific portions of the sprint cycle. Having said that, I think that a B movement (as I've described it above as opposed to the typical 'kick-out' version) can have some benefits beyond dynamic flexibility and physical preparation. I agree to some extent that the opening of the leg is a result of the rapid change of direction of the leg, this is why I tried to emphasize the point that it should occur as a result of the rapid downward acceleration of the leg rather than an active kickout. However, the opening of the leg is also a result of changes in muscle length and tension to the hamstring muscle as the hip is being extended. Consequently, the degree of "opening up" is related to two factors (the degree and rate of change of direction of the thigh, and the consequent changes in the muscle length and tension of the hamstring muscle group). As such, the opening up will still be present in a B drill but we'd expect it to be to a lesser extent than in actual sprinting.

    ELITETRACK Founder

    Avatar
    Participant
    2belite on #21336

    Everyone can't be right:P Mike. I do feel that drills can help in teaching good sprint mechabics, but I don't think the B drill is one of them.
    We know that it is important to minimize the distance between touchdown and the COM however, we should not see it as trying to pull the foot under the COM. It should be seen as the opposite, the COM going over the the foot(which is a result of hip hight).
    If you forget about the lower leg and just look at the knees, you would see that sprinting is and up and down motion. This is the exact reason why Tom Tellez always talks about letting the knees lead.
    The lower leg unfolding is a "reaction" not a "action". We as coaches must differentiate between the two and only coach the actions. In sprinting the folded leg comes foward close to twice the speed the athlete is moving, then there is a violent change in direction which causes the lower leg to flick out(given there is not a lot of tension in the hamies). In the B drill there is no violent change or direction. Therefore the leg has to be very forcefully accelerated the get any unfolding. This is normally done by increasing the range of motion of the thigh beyond angles seen in sprinting. Most athlete execute B drills from thigh angles that a parallel to the track or higher. This is so because it is near impossible to accelerate the thigh from a lower angle with enough force to cause the leg to flick out.
    So here we are as coaches putting our athletes in positions unnatural to sprinting(thigh block at parallel or higher[B drill}) trying to simulate a movement that is a "reaction".

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #21337

    [i]Originally posted by 2belite[/i]
    The lower leg unfolding is a "reaction" not a "action". We as coaches must differentiate between the two and only coach the actions.

    This is exactly what I'm saying! This is exactly the reason I never once mentioned actively opening the knee joint in my first post in this thread. I think you may be thinking that I'm talking about the b skips that you commonly see out on the track…..the ones with the ludicrous knee lift, active kick-out, and no active downward thigh acceleration. If this is the case, than we're not even talking about the same thing. The B drills I'm referring to are done with a knee lift to A position, as I originally stated, and not higher; and the opening of the leg is a passive reaction to the downward acceleration of the thigh. I'm not a huge fan of the B skip or any other drills for that matter for teaching sprint mechanics, but the fact of the matter is, if the thigh is accelerated downward with any rapidity whatsoever, the lower leg will open. The degree to which the leg opens (this is what I think we're getting hung up on here) will be dependent on the preceding actions. That is, if prior to the downward acceleration there was an equally fast forward and upward acceleration of the thigh (as is the case in sprinting) the lower leg will open more; likewise, if the thigh is taken beyond parallel with the ground (not what I'm suggesting, but what is often seen), the hamstring will have more tension and when the thigh is brought down the leg will open to a greater degree (as is commonly seen in B drills). Whether or not this action is very much like sprinting is another point. All I was indicating is that given the parameters that define a B drill, the way I suggested is the closest to correct sprint mechanics.

    ELITETRACK Founder

    Avatar
    Participant
    scroft on #21338

    B's taught the way Mike is teaching them are one of the best drills to examine a part of the sprint mechanic. So many young athletes are lazy about that part of the mechanic and B's if done properly can teach the rapid change of direction and are the only drill to do so.

    Avatar
    Participant
    2belite on #21339

    Mike, I was not talking about the B skip, we were talking about the same drill. I still feel it's not a good drill, but I guess we can agree to disagree.
    Maybe, I can explain myself a little better to give you an idea of where I am comming from. I am a big believer that everything happens off the ground (knee-lift is a product of force application) and that front side mechanics does not need to be coached(it's reflexive).
    I don't see how an athlete can perform a B drill without lifting the legs via hip flexors. This means the drill is started with wrong mechanics and therefore can only end wrong. However, the A drill is different, there is only one focus,pushing the knees up and the time frame of the drill allows for this. I am yet to see an athlete push his knees up and then reverse it fast enough to cause the lower leg to unfold at normal drill(walking) pace. Maybe, the B-runs or straight leg bounding is the answer.

    Avatar
    Participant
    vanilla-ice on #21340

    Again we have the same debates about drills and reflexive action. While I am a believer in strength and therapy to fix most problems why are we seeing guys like colby miller?

    Avatar
    Participant
    400stud on #21341

    A lot of fast-twitch fibers and good flexibility.

    Avatar
    Participant
    vanilla-ice on #21342

    Just to make sure people know that I don't feel colby has great technique.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 58 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.