Speed Training - Acceleration Development
The majority of sprint training should focus the following skill. For our purposes, acceleration consists of all elements of sprints from the moment of your first moment until you reach top speed.
Top speed is generally achieved between fifteen and thirty meters depending on strength levels, coordination, and the ability to maintain appropriate shin angles with the ground. Acceleration through, though a highly technical activity can be done with a simple but seemingly contradictory statement, run as hard as you kind by using the least amount of effort. If you try too hard to run fast, your form will break down and you will not reach your top speed. As we exam acceleration development or break down these cue and body positions that are required if you expect to make the big games in your speed development while sprint training.
For inexperienced sprinters, staying relaxed while running at full intensity is a difficult task. Especially when caught in the excitement of competition. However, success depends on overriding the instructions from your brain to strain and push harder and instead rely on proven techniques. Watch any elite speed athlete when they run especially track sprinters and notice how effortlessly they move. The world's fastest athletes know that staying relaxed no matter what is always faster than straining and fighting your way to the finish. Coming out at 45 degrees allows the sprinter to get full extension at the ankle, knee, and hip while setting them up to accelerate at the smoothest possible pattern.
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The ability to drive out of a starting position at this angle is based on strength. Sprinters with low strength to body weight ratios will pop up and become vertical within the first couple of strides. Smooth, consistent, and efficient acceleration requires physical strength and power. Here recovery occurs after ankle, knee, and hip extension also called triple extension when the heel is being recovered from the ground back under the hips in order to step over the knee.
During your sprint training, your athlete needs to keep the heel low during acceleration, think about running on hot, cold. What the range of motion would be like in that situation. Notice how the heels stay low to the ground during the recovery of the first few step ands gradually increases an over all range of motion. Reaching occurs when athlete allows their foot to arch up past the knee when running. Easy way to tell if an athlete is stepping over and driving down versus reaching with their foot is seeing where the foot lands when touching the ground. If it's directly below the hips, the athlete is in a good power position.
As this sprinter accelerates, it gives a perfect example of reaching and breaking that many inexperienced athletes do when running at full intensity.
Notice how at foot strike the heel hits the ground first and lands out in front of the hips. This causes the upper body to lean back. Destroying the ability to produce power. This is a common occurrence at the middle and high school level. It is the result of not stepping over and driving down.
Athletes cannot run at truly high speeds running like this so the focus on developing proper acceleration mechanics with your sprint training needs to be a priority.