Starting blocks technique
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The start of a sprint race is that part of the race from the firing of the gun to the departure from the starting blocks and the term generally includes the first strides out of the blocks.

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  • The start of a sprint race is that part of the race from the firing of the gun to the departure from the starting blocks and the term generally includes the first strides out of the blocks.

    STARTING OBJECTIVES

  • The principal purpose of the sprint start is to ease quick clearance from the blocks and speeding up to maximum speed.

  • There are a number of large objectives of the sprint start. Firstly, the athlete must create a balanced position in the starting blocks.


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  • He must also make sure that suitable force is applied to the blocks.

  • There must be right positioning of the body in the blocks to ensure that the hips rise to the same height each time.

  • The athlete must establish a foot position which enables him to come out of the blocks well balanced and with the best possible velocity, as he moves into full sprinting position.

  • Finally the athlete must effort to clear the starting blocks in the shortest possible time after the firing of the starter’s gun.


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TYPES OF STARTS: blocks.

  • There are three main types of starting positions for the sprint start. The principle difference between these starts is basically the horizontal distance between the front and back feet of the athlete.

    1. The Bunch Start :(Sometimes referred to as the Bullet start) This is where the feet are close together with the toes of the back foot opposite the heel of the front foot. Sometimes the feet are even closer together. This would generally involve a block spacing of less than 30cm.


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2. The Medium Start : blocks.the feet are further apart. The knee of the back leg is placed reverse a point towards the toes of the front foot. The inter-block distance of this start has been described as about shin length apart. Arnold (1992) describes a position many athletes use these days which is a little less than shin length apart, but not so closes as to call a Bunch or Bullet start.

3. Elongated Start :the knee of the back leg is placed level or just behind the heel of the front foot. It has been described as a position where the inter-block distance is well in excess of shin length. An inter-block distance in excess of 50cm could be described as an elongated start.


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BLOCK ANGLES blocks.

  • Much has been written and discussed about distance between front and back blocks, but ignores the effect of differing block angles.

  • A recent study by Guissard, Duchateau Hainaut 1992 has shown that variation in block angles can have a profound effect on starting velocities.

  • In the study 17 athletes used their own preferred distance between blocks and starting line. They all used a rear block angle of 70 degrees, but tested three angles with the front block: 30, 50 70 degrees.


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FOOT POSITION blocks.

In order to get more pre-tension in the calf muscles, the first spikes of both feet should be positioned on the track. With pre-stretched calf muscles, it is possible to get a more efficient start.

If the body mass is centred more on the legs than on the arms, pre-tension may be increased.

DISTANCE FROM STARTING LINE

In deciding the distance between the front foot and the starting line, (Barbaro 1983) mentions that weight distribution, hip position and the effect of foot drive must be considered.


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  • If the front foot is too close to the starting line, much of the body weight will rest on it and the knee angle will be less than 90 degrees. This will result in an ineffective front foot drive.

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