A Common Sprinting Mistake
January 21, 2009
About a week ago, (yes, I’m a lil’ behind with the news…) Rickey Henderson got voted into the baseball Hall of Fame. At the top of his list of skills was his basestealing ability. Watching the highlights, Rickey does something important: he stays LOW!!
Watch this video to see some examples:
He doesn’t pop up after a couple strides! This is a common mistake among young athletes learning proper sprinting technique. Athletes eager to get up to top speed quickly erect their bodies after only a couple strides…unfortunately this actually impairs their acceleration (read: makes them slower). To go forward quickly energy must be used for driving the body forward, not to straighten up the body.
Standing up is great once top speed is achieved, however during acceleration not so much. This becomes an issue with team sport athletes since the vast majority of sprinting in these sports is too short to reach top speed. Think of the percentage of hits that are singles versus triples or the percentage of catches by the receiver in football that result in long touchdowns vs. those that cover the distance of a first down.
This is one thing I’ll pay attention to during a 10 yard dash during an athlete’s initial assessment since 10 yards is way too short a distance for an athlete to have reached top speed.
Feel free to add any comments or suggestions below.
Happy Wednesday!! (Power’s out at school, so day off :) )