Sprints & Relays: Training & Technical Phase-Based Approach to Seasonal Planning
with Ruqayya Gibson,
Cypress Springs High School (TX) Girls Track Head Coach;
2014 Female Coach of The Year (Texas Track & Field Coaches Association);
2014 Brooks Running Most Inspiring Coach finalist;
winner of 5 consecutive Region III-5A Championships
When coaching athletes in the sprints and relays, the ability to create an effective training program can make a tremendous positive impact on your team's success. In this video, Ruqayya Gibson walks you through a step-by-step guide to constructing an effective annual sprinting plan, using single and double macrocycle programming. She also covers relay selection and development before proceeding to the track to demonstrate ways to enhance athletic performance through a variety of drills and coaching points.
Organizing the Annual Plan
Coach Gibson breaks down how to structure a training year using the single peak method for teams competing in outdoor track, and the double peak method for teams with indoor and outdoor seasons. She shows coaches how to break down each macrocycle into phases while outlining the types of work and emphasis that must be performed in each one. Gibson also addresses common misconceptions about the type of conditioning work that sprinters need to prepare for the season. Part of Gibson's approach has been to avoid longer distance interval training in favor of more focused, event-specific work.
Designing Speed Development Workouts
There are many factors to consider when designing speed development workouts. Gibson shows how to organize the timing of the three different types of speed development: acceleration, max velocity / absolute speed, and speed endurance. Additionally, she breaks down the exact distances, volumes, and specific details that are critical to making these workouts as effective as possible.
You'll learn how to effectively manage training volumes for technical event athletes by combining speed workouts with hurdle and runway development work. By splitting or combining these activities, athletes can enhance their speed, within the contexts of their events.
In this segment, Gibson breaks down an example of a daily practice session from warms-ups through drills and into speed progressions. She lays out a drill-by-drill instruction for every part of the workout.
Selecting and Positioning Runners
The 4x100 relay is one of the sport's most exciting events and Coach Gibson's athletes never hold back. She breaks down her philosophy for assembling lightning fast relays and details what type of athlete she looks for when creating her teams. Once she has identified the "warrior spirit" in her athletes, it's time to place them into one of four legs for the event. This is where Coach Gibson clearly defines the roles and expectations of each leg and what is expected from each athlete in each position.
Improve Speed Development
In order for relay teams to run fast, each athlete must also be able to run fast as an individual. To accomplish this, Gibson demonstrates two types of sprint practices, including warm-ups and theme-specific sprint development drills to enhance both acceleration and max velocity mechanics. Throughout the segment, Gibson addresses the "why" and "how" for each exercise, pointing out common errors and their corrections.
Develop Fast and Effective Baton Passing
Next, Coach Gibson demonstrates some of her favorite drills for helping athletes make crisp, clean passes. One of the best drills is the Go-Go Drill, in which two athletes, staggered just a couple of meters apart, begin sprinting simultaneously to make a high speed exchange. This drill is a great pre-meet warm-up and an excellent plan B workout when space or weather do not permit longer work. Gibson then closes this segment by showing you how her team can incorporate relay passing into speed development work, in order to maximize practice efficiency, without addi
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Terrence Trammell: Teaching and Coaching the Sprints
with Terrence Trammell,
Pace Academy (GA) Associate Head Coach;
3x Olympian & 2x Olympic Silver Medalist (110 M High Hurdles);
3x World Silver Medalist;
6x NCAA Champion (University of South Carolina)
Teaching explosiveness on the track is the key to training sprinters. Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Terrence Trammell provides coaches and athletes the opportunity to develop new skills for novice sprinters and reinforce and enhance commonly used drills for experienced sprinters. He begins with detailed demonstrations and coaching points that allow athletes to develop mechanics in sprinting to execute the drills "perfectly first, then perfectly faster."
Running Form and Explosive Power
Foot placement and foot strike are essential for good sprint technique. The key is to find a balance between stride length and frequency, which will lead to fast times. Trammell shares a series of foundation-building drills that focus on the specifics of running form. You'll see a detailed tour of the benefits and execution of the A-Skip, B-Skip, Flutter Kicks, Tight High Knees, and High Skip drills that sprinters commonly use in their warm up and mechanic development.
Coach Trammell relates each of the skills to the specific component of efficient sprint mechanics and how they relate to the overall sprinting process.
How To Use Starting Blocks
One of the most important aspects of sprinting is clearing the starting blocks. However, at the youth and high school levels, this is one of the most inconsistently taught and coached parts of sprinting. Trammell provides a detailed description of starting block technique, including set up, leg angle, upper body position, and use of the blocks and track to generate the most effective start for power and mechanical efficiency.
Segmenting the Sprint
Trammell breaks the sprint into three distinct phases: Transition Phase, Top Speed Phase, and Maintenance Stage. He thoroughly explains how to teach athletes to drive out in order to set themselves up to run in the most efficient manner possible. He also discusses how to finish a sprint.
The conciseness and multiple angles of the drills provided by Coach Trammell reinforce efficient sprinting mechanics to allow for maximum success on the track!
25 minutes. 2018.
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35 Essential Drills for Sprinters
with Ken Harnden,
University of Georgia Associate Head Coach;
2x Olympian and 1996 NCAA Champion at UNC (400 Hurdles);
3x USTFCCCA National Assistant Coach of the Year;
former Assistant Coach at Florida State University
Georgia Associate Head Coach Ken Harnden has created a great video outlining the essential aspects of a successful sprint training program. In this video, Coach Harnden will teach you how to:
- Create a functional dynamic warm up
- Teach an explosive block start
- Optimize maximal velocity mechanics to improve speed development
Coach Harnden covers a wide array of drills, many of which will provide solutions to building muscle memory, correcting core issues, block settings, leg angles, arm action, and warm-up procedures.
Creating a Functional Warm-Up
Efficient hip mobility is critical to developing the power needed for sprinting success. A strong functional movement-based warm-up can help develop these mobility patterns. Coach Harnden takes you through a 24 exercise functional warm-up that is designed to progressively challenge athletes' range of motion.
After some light skipping and jogging, the warm-up introduces a series of ground drills that progressively prepare the hip girdle, before progressing back into movement-based exercises with hurdle mobility exercises and speed development drills, including power skips and A-runs.
Teaching an Explosive Block Start
In order to develop an effective block start, Harnden breaks down critical components of powerful starts and ways to teach them in practice both with and without blocks. Drills in this segment progress from upright running drills to 3- and 4-point starts. The culminating drill in this segment, the Triple Extension Med Ball Toss, provides a great low-risk way to teach young athletes how to push up through the front leg, creating triple extension needed for acceleration.
Coach Harnden also covers how to set the pedals of your start blocks and what to do when your blocks aren't long enough to accommodate all your settings.
Optimizing Maximal Velocity Mechanics
Teaching maximal velocity mechanics can be difficult because athletes only spend a brief amount of time within this phase of their event. It's even more difficult to teach through drills, as proper mechanics are the result of force development in the acceleration phase.
This segment is slightly different than most coaching videos on speed development. Coach Harnden doesn't overload viewers with a myriad of drills "guaranteed to produce results." Instead, he shows viewers some critical body positioning cues they must look for. Cues such as knees together can let coaches know if athletes are over-striding, or turning over too quickly and not producing force appropriately.
Harnden keeps the concept of sprint development simple. All of his drills are well-explained and easy to implement in training even with beginner athletes or large groups.
43 minutes. 2017.
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Championship Speed and Power Drills: Sprints
with Erik Jenkins,
Western Kentucky University Head Men's & Women's Track and Field Coach;
18x Conference USA/Sun Belt Conference Coach-of-the-Year;
has led WKU to 27 Conference USA/Sun Belt Conference Team Championships;
Back-to-Back USTFCCCA Southeast Region Men's Coach of the Year (2015-14)
Coach Eric Jenkins presents over 30 speed progression drills that he uses to work on balance and coordination to develop dynamic movement. His drills are designed to increase and enhance the skill pattern needed to build explosive movement and develop the technique needed to improve speed.
Learn the specific drills used to develop aggressive athletes that become championship sprinters. Drills designed to teach the triple extension pattern are essential for developing a championship sprinter. The athlete needs to be aggressive coming out of the blocks, keep everything moving forward, and be quick off of the ground.
Coach Jenkins thoroughly breaks down eight drills that progress from the A-Walk to Resisted Ground Strikes in a manner that enhances the balance and coordination of the athlete while reinforcing proper technique for sprinters. He expertly addresses the importance of preparing the foot to handle ground reaction forces, while coaching his athlete through each drill, pausing to point out errors or adjustments as needed. This is an important feature for beginner coaches because it provides the drill, along with the context of when and how to use it.
Hurdle Mobility and Plyometrics
Coach Jenkins demonstrates drills to increase the range of motion in the hips and create balance, stability, and functional power that allows the athlete to combine all these facets into the mechanics of successful sprinting. Hurdle mobility is important because it not only allows athletes to be in a position to be more explosive, but also helps prevent injury by increasing range of motion.
The second major power segment Coach Jenkins focuses on is plyometrics. He incorporates both simple and advanced plyometrics in his demonstrations. In the hurdle hops holds drill, Jenkins demonstrates the position an athlete should be landing in to highlight safe and effective technique. An advanced drill would be his depth jump and hurdle exchange exercises. The hurdle exchange exercises challenge the athlete not only dynamically, but also from a coordination standpoint as well.
Coach Jenkins provides detail in setting-up for safety and pacing of drills, in addition to two different combinations he has sprinters perform during the season and in the off-season.
Sprinter-Specific Weight Training
Western Kentucky's strength coach, Domenic Reno, takes you through WKU Track and Field's weight training program. This segment begins with a bar warm up incorporating power cleans, snatches, front squat to press, and overhead shrugs. The warm up is designed to address various movement patterns common to track and field athletes, as well as the various lifts they perform during each session. From there, Coach Reno provides a brief, but detailed overview of the lifts they use and their importance. Each of the lifts demonstrated serves as critical power development in the triple extension movement that is required for maximum power drive in sprinting.
Coach Jenkins provides a strong foundation of the fundamentals and skills necessary for successful sprinting. The drills and cues shown allow for progressing as athletes develop each of the necessities sprinting requires - proper form, balance, coordination, stability, and power.
31 minutes. 2017.
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All Access Wartburg Track & Field Practice: Sprints
with Marcus Newsom,
Wartburg College Head Coach;
6x United States Track Coaches Association DIII Indoor Women's Coach of the Year;
3x USTFCCCA DIII Outdoor Women's Coach of the Year;
featuring Scott Ganshirt, Wartburg College Assistant Track & Field Coach
The Wartburg Track program has grown into a national power under Coach Newsom's watch. Wartburg has won 14 straight indoor women's conference championship titles and nine men's indoor championships. The women have a string of 17 consecutive outdoor titles. The men have won eight league outdoor titles since 2002. In 2009, his women's teams became only the seventh team in NCAA Division III history to sweep indoor and outdoor national titles in the same season, and earned the inaugural Deb Vercauteren Program of the Year award from the USTFCCCA. The program also won the award in back-to-back-to-back season (2012-14). The 2012 women's team swept the National Championships and set new all-time meet records in team points in both venues.
In this video, filmed 'live' showing 'all access' footage of four days of Wartburg's sprints practices, Newsom discusses in detail how he breaks down a sprinter with a combination of endurance and speed and then you'll see four typical practice days to gain valuable training insight and sample practice ideas.
This combination of endurance and speed days include:
- Structured 200m days
- Repeat 200m days
- Broken 400m days
Large Group Training
Athletes at Wartburg don't stand around for long at practice. Whether it be circuit training, bicycle work, running, or recovery exercises, Coach Newsom shares his ideas on how to structure practices to enable his sprinters to maximize their time in training and accomplish substantial work within each session.
Weekly Training Program
The most unique aspect of this video is that it unfolds throughout the course of one week, enabling you to see how each practice is placed into the structure of an entire training week. This allows coaches to watch how workouts like Tuesday's block and recovery day enables athletes to recover from the previous day, while preparing for more intense days in the middle of the week.
Coach Newsom has his athletes demonstrate 12 specific workouts that can be used to improve both speed and endurance. He breaks down a typical workout day for the athlete and explains why each component of the session is a critical part of the workout. Components include:
- The push-drive phase
- Running through the curve
- Staying relaxed and focused through the straightaway
- Keeping your power in front of you until the finish
The most unique aspect of this video is the kickboxing session with coach Russ O'Connell. O'Connell is an accomplished mixed martial arts coach who has coached numerous elite fighters, and was brought in to provide some interesting variety to the team's training program. Focusing on fighting skills that challenge both hand-eye coordination and core development, this unique aspect of the video will challenge you on how you can think creatively to provide dynamic training alternatives to sit-ups and planks.
Coach Newsom explains that his philosophy will enhance your athletes' ability to:
- Focus on staying relaxed
- Go hard and control the pace
- Keep a good tempo
- Focus on form and technique
Put your athletes in a proper block setting position for sprint starts. Coach Scott Ganshirt explains why the drive phase, arm action, and the power position are critical to maximize the sprint start. The main points needed for a good start including keeping the head down, driving out, and being aggressive.
This program features over four days of practices and a glimpse at numerous drills, from block work to 4x200 and 4x400 relay exchanges. While some of the resources, such as kickboxing, may not be available or practical, it provides a great example for coaches who like to think outside the box and seek out alternative resources that can help their program grow and develop.
171 minutes (2 DVDs). 2017.
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