The first phase of any sprint is the start, commonly referred to as the Block Start. The next series of blogs will cover the Block Start technique for sprinters.
The first step to the block start is to determine which leg is the power leg and which leg is your speed leg. This is important because the power leg will be placed in the front block and used to propel the body.
There are several ways to determine which leg is the power leg, but I like to use two pretty common methods. The first method is to stand tall with your arms by your side, on command, bring your arms across your chest as fast as possible. The arm that hits the chest first is usually your speed side and the arm landing on top of the other is usually your power side. The other method is to stand tall with your feet slightly apart and have someone come up from behind and give you a push forward. The leg you use to break your fall or to catch yourself is usually your power leg.
The front block should be placed 2 steps, toe to heel, from the start line. The back block should be placed 3 steps, toe to heel, from the start line. This is not an exact science but is a good place to start. The angle of the foot pedals should be around 45 – 60°.
Stand in front of the blocks while facing down the track. Back into the blocks and place the front foot in the front block and then place the back foot in the back block. The toes of each foot should just touch the track and the heels should be pressed back against the foot pedals.
The hands should be placed along the staring line a little wider than shoulder width apart. The thumb and the index finger of each hand should be split wide and aligned along the starting line with the other fingers curled into the palm.
The hips should be raised above shoulder level. The angle created with the front leg should be 90 – 100° and the angle of the back leg should be 120 – 130°. The toes should just touch the track and the heels should be pressed back against the foot pedals. The body should have a little forward lean with shoulders slightly over the hands. The head should be down and eyes focused about 3 feet in front of start line.
Push off hard with front leg to create an exploding movement of the body. The first step of the back leg should reach past the start line. The front leg should be fully extended. Drive the opposite arm of the back leg hard and parallel to the track. The motion of the arm should look like you are trying to shield your eyes from the sun.The body position during this stage should be at 45°.
The back should remain in a straight line. The head should be slightly tucked in and eyes should be focused at a point about 3 feet in front of the start line.