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by Ed Arnold
One of the wonderful things about athletics is that you not only compete against other athletes but also against yourself. A faster time is a triumph as well as a first place. In sprinting it is important to run your own race and not be affected by athletes in other lanes. Opponents cannot make you run faster and you cannot make them run slower except in terms of mental preparedness or mental barrier. In these terms sprinters can think of the lane as a tunnel with their sole thought that of getting to the other end as fast as possible. sprint group

Good raw sprinting is a power performance, the combination of electric speed and immense strength. Hone this into a powerful, balanced, co-ordinated, smooth performance and you have something special.

Only one man and woman can be the fastest in the world at any one time but success at lower levels and self improvement are extremely rewarding and we can all experience that wonderful feeling of power when running at top speed, relaxed and strong.

sprint start

On your marks...
B A N G !

The time is here. You look down the track, a little nervous but in control. You can win but everything has to be right. A slow start and all is lost. You focus on getting it right.

On your marks... You walk forward, stretch out in front of the blocks taking your weight on your hands and push each foot firmly against the block. Your hands are brought back behind the line just over shoulder width apart, forming a V with the thumb and fingers. From the side the shoulders are in line or just in front of the hands. Your weight is evenly distributed between your rear knee and your hands. Your feet are firmly against the blocks and your head is in line with your body looking at the ground.

It seems like an eternity. Someone is playing the waiting game. Concentrate on the start not the time. If you are side-tracked in the set position you will miss the gun. Disaster!

Set... You raise your hips to just above shoulder height, bringing them slightly forward if possible. You front knee angle is about 90 degrees, with your rear leg around 120 degrees. Your weight is evenly distributed bewteen your arms and legs.

The time is now. The adrenalin is flowing, athletes, coaches, mums and dads, lovers, supporters. The feeling must not be that of reacting to the gun but one of being released by it.

B you are released and away A N G...

The start was tremendous. The power generated by the front leg breathtaking. The speed the hands left the track lightening. The pull through of the rear leg and counterbalance of the arms vigorous. You stayed low over the first few strides and your head stayed in line with your body. You have made the final. Just repeat that but don't get phased by the game player. Oh, it's OK - he didn't make the final.


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