Legs from the bottom up

It shouldn’t be any surprise that, like most sports, sprinting relies on ground contact.

Given that, my warm up (after a jog) starts at the point of contact, the ball of the foot at the base of the toes.  Keeping the knee stiff and bouncing off the ball of the foot strengthens the ankle and encourages elasticity in the achiles and calf muscles.  This also promotes hip strength when we later run with full leg extension and avoid that ‘sitting’ style which impedes stride length.  In the photo only one has the absolute ‘stiff leg’, the others are getting better.

The second part of this drill is to relax the top half of the body.  Arms, shoulders, jaw, cheeks etc.  Later on the athletes will learn to only work the muscles used in the actual mobility of the body and conserve energy.  This is a good place to start.

Thirdly the athletes are developing a feel for a slight forward lean to allow the feet to position under the hips.

These drills are common use and I am not claiming them as mine, just telling you what has worked for me as a coach and athlete.  If you want the full story go to  lorenseagrave.com and get the dvd’s on Speed Dynamics.  A very good investment.

Otherwise stick with my blog over time and I’ll give you my reasons for using the drills I do.  You’ll also get an inside into my strength, psychology and the every day challenges of coaching and competing.


click on the above for the full video and compare the different stages of development.



Drill this Inta Ya….

Well, here’s a bunch in full flight and you can take your pick as to what you want to start on as far as technique goes.

Obviously this is not their first training day but we still have a long way to go to bring them to “elite sprinter” stage.

Over the next few posts I’ll share 9 drills to correct things like foot placement, arms control (already mentioned) stride length and timing.

As always I look forward to any feedback or questions.


PS You can view a slowmo video on

copy & paste in your browser.  I’ve yet to figure how this works automatically.

Arms control (sprinters best weapons)


Using the arms


The Importance of Arms

Certainly the hardest aspect of sprinting is to get the arms doing the right thing.  Frankly, a video is the easiest way to show an athlete that what they think they are doing is not what is happening.

Over the years I have exhorted the homework to be “stand in front of the bathroom mirror and practice”.  That means elbows locked at 90 degrees, hands from hip to shoulder (see your thumbs at eye level) and slightly less than shoulder width but certainly not crossing the body midline.  Keep the elbows tucked in.  Using light weights (very light) will help the shoulder muscles develop.

The drills for arms is; 30secs @ 3/4 pace, 10secs rest, 20secs @ 1/2 pace, 10 secs rest, 10secs @full pace.  these can be done sitting on the ground or standing.

There will be more about arms when we talk of ‘stride length’ and cadence.

Running without Arms?

Sprinters are lined up. Moment of truth. Evaluation time.

Each sprinter has a Name, Phone, Address on a card or page.

Communication is vital in coaching. Note strengths and weaknesses,

document the lot. As someone once said “you can’t manage

what you can’t measure”.


The most common mistake in novice sprinters is ARMS.


I have tried many different ways of correcting arm movement

and can’t drill in enough the simple movement; 90 degrees at the elbow,

hands from hip to shoulder, elbows in, don’t cross the mid line.


The drills I’ve used include; Arm race – standing or sitting, 30sec

at half pace, 20sec at ¾ pace and 10sec at race pace. 10Sec recovery

between each.


For homework; stand in front of the bathroom mirror and practice

with very light weights.


Anyone with a good idea to fix this most common but vital movement?


Coach Till You Bleed……..


Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but if your heart is not well and truly in it, give up now.

So, let me take you on my own journey over the years and into my current effort.  We can discuss my

strengths and weaknesses as we go.  I will also include my own training plan and philosophy, for what it’s worth, which has taken me to a height I never even contemplated.  National Titles and a National Record.

Like a lot of Coaches I came into it from supporting my son, as many fathers do.  It wasn’t long before I realised that a lot of his progress would be up to me.  So I began watching and learning from other Coaches and eventually took over the job myself.  Many years (and competitors) later I took on the role of competitor myself.  I couldn’t coach unless I knew first hand what I was asking others to do.

To this day I’m not sure if my son takes my accomplishments seriously, but I do know he is an excellent coach for his own Family.  Did something get through?

And thereby hangs my overall philosophy for coaching.  Hopefully impart enough information to the Athlete to ensure a well balanced and pleasurable life.  Sportsmanship (caring for yourself and others),

Health and a Positive Attitude