8 September 2017
From Second Place to First
When it comes to track and short sprints, block starts are essential. The difference between a first and second place finisher, could be a block start. Starting blocks are a device used in the sport of track and field by sprint athletes to hold their feet at the start of a race so they do not slip as they push out at the sound of the gun. It’s also used for support and acceleration in the beginning of a race. How does a person’s block start and acceleration effect time and performance in a 100 meter race? If a person perfects their starting blocks, then their time will improve in the 100 meter race.
There are different factors that play a role into having a good block start. In the article written by Dylan Spadaccini,the most crucial part is setting the blocks up correctly to a specific person. Each runner has a different set up. Your dominant foot should be set back the farthest, taking 3 steps to determine the exact location. Your dominant foot should be set up closer up than the dominant foot. They way to find that is taking 2 steps back, instead of 3. Once your blocks are set up, proceed to get into the blocks. Your hands should be right under your shoulders, using the first 3 fingers on each hand to hold yourself. The closer your hands are together, the better. Once your body is in the correct position, your body should be at slight lean over the line with your chin to your chest. It's important to anticipate the gun but not too quickly. Once the gun sounds, it’s crucial that you explode out of the blocks and stay low. In the same article written by Dylan Spadaccini, he talks about how during the acceleration phase, driving both your knees and arms makes the greatest difference. The higher your arm goes, the higher your knee will rise.
In an article written by Tom Green, he mentioned key components in improving a start for sprinters. The first key point mentioned is finding and recognizing your dominant leg. The dominant leg's block pedal will be the one that's forward, and the other pedal will be placed slightly behind.The angle of your lead leg will be roughly 90 degrees, and the back leg will be around 120 degrees. The next key point is hand placement. Tom mentions how most coaches teach their athletes to place their hands shoulder width apart. The third point is full range of motion while keeping the drive phase aspect. When exploding out of the blocks, it’s crucial to stay down in the drive phase for at least 30-35 meters of the race. In the article, it talks about when you’re in the drive phase, it's also important to be accelerating your arms as aggressively as possible. The faster your arms move, the faster your legs will move. Whip them forward and drive them back. The final key point made was reacting to the gun. The article mentioned being wise and smart, and just having a well-developed reaction to the gun.
In the sprint and hurdle races, a...