First and foremost, the shoulders should remain relaxed. The shoulders should not twist or rotate but remain square to the track. The shoulders will act as a pivot point for the arms to swing.
The head should be held upright with eyes focusing down the track. The head should be in a neutral position where there is no tension or strain felt in the neck. You can test this by slightly tilting the head back and forth and to the sides to see if there is any tension there. Position the head at the point where there is minimal tension or strain on the neck. The head should feel weightless. The face should be totally relaxed to the point where your jaws are flapping as you run. Watch the NCAA and professional sprinters on TV in slow motion to get an idea how this looks.
The first place to start is the overall body position during the sprint. The body should be straight up and erect. You should feel like there is a string leading through the body from the feet and out of the top of the head. If you were to pull the string tight, your body would be pulled straight up like a puppet. While sprinting in this upright position your body should maintain about a 10 degree forward lean.
Whether you compete in the 100m, 200m, or 400m sprint, it is important to learn the proper sprint technique and body mechanics. Each body part and movement from head to toe, when performed correctly, combines to allow the sprinter to get the most out of his/her effort.
Over the next few weeks, I will break down the sprint technique, starting from the proper movement of the head and travel down to the placement of the foot.
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