Thursday, February 13, 2014

Athlete Performance Testing - Part 7

The 10-yard dash is a great way to measure an athlete’s ability to start from a static position and accelerate. You’ll often hear this distance referred to as the drive phase by track coaches and sprinters, and this indeed is an accurate description, as the athlete is literally driving themselves to top speed.
 Because maximum velocity is not achieved until approximately 30-40 yards, this test does not measure an athlete’s top speed, but rather, their ability achieve top speed in the shortest time possible. The more powerful an athlete is, the quicker they will accelerate, and the faster their 10-yard dash time will be.
When an athlete accelerates, their body should be positioned in a 45 degree angle, with their shoulders, hips, and ankles in alignment. This is referred to as the “powerline” position, and it is critical to maintain this position over the first 8-10 steps of any linear movement.

The "powerline" as demonstrated by Olympic sprinter Yohan "The Beast" Blake of Jamaica.

However, even the most powerful athletes in the world can have flawed sprinting mechanics, and this can have a significant impact on their speed. To ensure that an athlete is accelerating as efficiently as possible, it is important to assess the athlete’s body position while accelerating.  Check out this video of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to see just how important positioning is.

Stay tuned! Coming up, we'll touch on how you can maintain the proper body positioning to stay a step ahead of the competition!

Keep Training!
Coach Anthony and Akron General Sports Performance

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