Track and Field Coaching Sprints


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This book is for coaches, parents, sprinters and all the young beginners, to study the correct art of sprint training, to improve their athletic ability and natural talent. “I believe our country can have Olympic champions again just like in the past.” To become a world class sprinter the athlete should first be identified, tested and only then developed in the correct way. Any young athlete tested with fast-twitch muscle fibres can become a good sprinter. Correct coaching and development of this precious talent is of crucial importance.

In the past all track and field training was based on “fitness” for example endurance training which means that the slow-twitch fibres were developed properly but 90% of all track and field events depend on the fast-twitch muscle fibres that was not developed correctly. Owen therefore decided to do research on the development of the fast-twitch fibres that should be used for all sprints, hurdles, jumps and throwing events.

The world’s best athletes apart from middle and long distance runners, who performed exceptionally well, were from the nations born with a majority of fast-twitch muscle fibres. This book will explore the factors based on the fast-twitch fibres, how it works and how the development thereof must be done correctly. Doing training for endurance for example, slow-twitch fibres makes an athlete “fitter” but “slower”. We now find that middle distance athletes should develop more speed and will then be running times much faster than in the past because of their inherited and developed speed component.

This book includes chapters on Energy Systems for speed development. These correct training regimens of fast fibres are not only important for all speed events, not only sprints and hurdles, but also for jumpers and throwers. It also includes the conditioning of the fast fibres through bounding and weight training and the recovery thereof. With correct and better training programmes and technique for sprinters, the mental aspects are dealt with as well.

I sincerely hope that our new and younger coaches will change their attitude of coaching fast fibre athletes because we still hear of young boys and girls being chased by doing for example, 20 °— 200 and running kilometres a day and that for a sprinter who, “doesn’t breathe”, during a 100 metre race. South African talent is becoming “slower and fitter” but not “faster”. Only certain athletes who are born with fast-twitch muscle fibres and who are doing the correct training will be able to win Olympic titles in the future. We have a proud history of good sprinters as indicated at the end of this book.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1    General 

Chapter 2    The Energy Systems 

Chapter 3    Identification of Talent 

Chapter 4    The Development of a Sprinter 

Chapter 5    Warm-up and Stretching 

Chapter 6    The Start 

Chapter 7    The Reaction and Reflex 

Chapter 8    Acceleration 

Chapter 9    Top Speed 

Chapter 10   Technique 

Chapter 11   Sprint Drills 

Chapter 12   Speed Endurance or Prolonged Speed 

Chapter 13   The Last Few Metres and the Winning Line 

Chapter 14   Conditioning 

Chapter 15   Bounding and Plyometrics 

Chapter 16   Recovery 

Chapter 17   Programming 

Chapter 18   Programmes 

Chapter 19   Master Athletes and Speed 

Chapter 20   Peaking 

Chapter 21   Injuries 

Chapter 22   Psychology of Sprinting 

Chapter 23   Strength 

Chapter 24   Testing Sprinters 

Chapter 25   Coaching Tips 

Chapter 26   Summary of Sprinting 

Chapter 27   History of South African Sprinting 

Chapter 28   Nurse Your Young Athletes Carefully 



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