What makes a natural jumper? Sprinter? How can you be good at both? Every track and field coach during the first week is surveying their team and asking these questions. A lot of times simply watching them walk onto the track can give you all the information you need. I'm going to attempt to explain how I answer these questions in my program.
The new speed formula prioritizes ground contact force and ground contact time. In a previous post I discussed how to decrease ground contact time. In this post I'll discuss how to increase ground contact force.
The new speed formula states:
Speed = Ground contact force / Ground contact time
Simply increasing ground contact forces without regard to the direction of the force will result in less than ideal results. Fast speeds require forces in the right direction. When the foot strike is in front to the center of mass, breaking forces are introduced. See my this post on running form. In this situation ground contact forces are high, but in the wrong direction. So we want to eliminate the breaking forces and maximize the vertical and horizontal propulsive forces. During acceleration, the direction of the ground contact force will be more horizontal and transition to a more vertical direction as the sprinters gets into a maximum velocity phase.
Here are 4 ways to develop more ground contact force in the right direction.
In the previous post I argued that speed is Newtonian. In fact, I proposed a new speed formula:
Speed = Ground Contact Force/Ground Contact Time.
The variables of this formula deal with force vectors and very small time differentials. In this context it seems then to maximize force and minimize time strength and quickness are necessary.
This article by Boo Schexnayder on the mechanics of the jump approach has influenced how I think about developing quickness in my athletes. As I outline below, developing quickness isn't as easy as you think.