100M Sprint Technique
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The 100-meter sprint is one of the most popular events in track and field and the event whose world or Olympic champion is given the title fastest man in the world. The event is often thought of as one where only those with raw talent succeed, but the truth is that there is a lot of technique involved.
It is important to warm up properly. This prepares the body for performance in several ways. A proper warm-up is dynamic and works to elevate heart rate, increase core body temperature increase blood flow to working muscles, stimulate the nervous system, improve joint mobility and improve the elastic and contractile properties of the muscles.
Every athlete should know what their correct block settings are, because blocks set up incorrectly can hinder performance. The front foot should be about two foot lengths from the start line. The back foot should be placed at a toe to heel relationship with the front foot. The hands should be positioned with the thumb and index finger at the start line with arms shoulder-width apart. The hips should elevate higher than the shoulders when the starter says "set."
The start is extremely important in the 100 meters. Few races are won at the start, but many races are lost there. Upon the start signal, the back leg should extend briefly and then come forward quickly to take the first step. The front leg should forcefully extend, propelling you forward. The hips should extend, continuing to push your body forward and upward.
The acceleration phase is where you are building up speed. This is often the longest portion of the run. During the acceleration phase, focus on a large range of motion at the hip. Lift your knee up and forward powerfully with each step. You should contact the ground on the balls of your feet. Continue to push your body horizontally.
Maximum Velocity Phase
The maximum velocity phase is the portion of the sprint where you reach and maintain your top speed, and you should do so as long as possible. During the maximum velocity phase, your body will reach an upright position. Your legs should now be moving in cyclical pattern. You should keep your ankles dorsiflexed and focus on minimizing heel recovery time.
- "USA Track and Field Coaching Education Manual"; USA Track and Field; 2006
Thelma Gomez is an expert in fitness and exercise who has advised professional athletes and celebrities. She draws on her experience to write articles for print and online publications and peer-reviewed journals. Gomez holds a Master of Science in Education degree in exercise physiology from the University of Miami.