• Arm Action— Don’t run with tense arms, practice loose swinging movements from standing position.  Remember the arms are bent at the elbow, with the elbow crossing the plane of the body as you swing from the shoulder.  Keep the arms relaxed at all times.  The arms work in opposition to the legs but must work in coordination with the action of the legs to maximize running efficiency.
  • Body Lean — The body should have a slight lean (Jamaican lean) in the direction you’re running.  It is important that the lean comes from the ground and not from the waist.  The lean is the result of displacing the center of gravity in the direction you’re running.  Leaning by bending at the waist interferes with the correct mechanics of running and causes you to under stride.
  • Foot Contact Don’t run on your toes! The toes have no power or stability.  If you run on your toes, you will not be able to run fast.  Stay on the balls of your feet (dorsi flex foot) and push against the ground. Don’t reach and (over stride) and pulled toward the ground; this will develop injuries and result in poor running mechanics and slower times.  Allow the heel to make contact with the ground only when running at any distance.
  • Over Striding — Over striding is the worst and most misunderstood element of sprinting.  Stride length is determined from the point of takeoff to the point of landing (distance covered) not from the distance from the right foot to the left foot.  Don’t reach and over stride to increase stride length.  Push against the ground and let the foot land  underneath the center of gravity.  Any placement of the foot in front of the center of gravity will create a breaking action causing the body to slow down.
  • Under Striding — Try not to be too quick!  Too much turnover will cause you to run fast in one place, and will not cover any ground.  Quality sprint speed is a combination of both stride frequency and stride length.  One simply does not replace the other.
  • Tension — Try not to power your way through a race or sprint effort.  Power is what gets you out of the blocks or starts your acceleration to the ball or line of scrimmage, it’s not what gets you through to the finish or the goal line.  To run fast, you must run relaxed.
  • Speed versus QuicknessSpeed is the measure of how fast an athlete can sprint short distances and high maximum speed does not guarantee athletic success.  Quickness refers to the ability of an athlete to perform specific movements in the shortest possible time.  Fast, explosive movements of the entire body which occur in the starting and acceleration phases of sprinting or adjusting a body part to start a new movement for rapidly changing direction, demonstrate an athlete’s quickness.

The information above on Trouble Shooting Running Mechanics was taken from the book “Sports SPEED – the #1 Program for Athletes” written by George Dintiman Bob Ward and Tom Tellez. Coach Tellez, former coach of Olympic Champion Carl Lewis and world class sprinter Leroy Burrell.


From the Flight Deck, Coach Murdock



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