Week Eleven: Final Presentation

This week was crazy busy with racing in San Diego then coming back and doing a presentation on my passion project and then completing another 100m sprint. Most of the work I put into my passion project was in putting together my PowerPoint that I used. So I decided to post it so you could see the basic outline of my presentation. Some of the slides will not be as meaningful for there are just photos that I then talked about but you can see just a basic outline of what I did. Since this project was for my technology in education class I decided to try iMovie to edit a clip of me running. I know it is not a very long video but I used the program for the first time and have an idea on what to do for future videos. I also ran another 100m sprint and managed to time it! Amazing right? I ran it in 14seconds! Definitely not the fastest time but considering where I started the semester I will take it! I now have a base knowledge that I will be able to take with me as I move forward and become a teacher. So this is what I have learned I hope you have enjoyed my journey as I have learned how to sprint.

 

EDCI 336 PP Presentation

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Week Ten: Training Update

So I have become a little more coordinated while practicing the different activities and exercises that I explained in week four. Instead of tripping over my feet and almost face planting I can now do the drills with some success and control. The block starts are starting to feel more normal. Through practice I have more control over the height of my hips helping to straighten my back a bit. I still have a long way to go but the action is less dramatic and I have a greater understanding of where my body is going and what I need to do to get it into the proper position. It is amazing the improvement you can have just through neurological adaptation. The A’s and B’s do not feel so alien anymore but rather quite normal. When performing them I do not have to think about where my foot is going every time or how my knee is tracking. To achieve this success I have also increased the distance and the amount of repetitions I can do per practice. Initially I was doing just short pieces but now I have increased the distance so that I am doing thirty to forty meters rather than just the ten meters that I started with. I have also increased from just a couple of repetitions to being able to do close to ten sometimes more reps. It has been a very slow process with a lot of bumps along the way but I through a lot of hard work it is starting to pay off. I completed my first 100m sprint last week and the repercussions later that day and the next were less then I expected which gives me the courage to continue to push the limits a little more every day I train. I also realized that I need to keep doing the different drills of the different parts of the sprint for when I actually sprinted I kind of forgot to think about what I was doing so I need to make sure the movement patterns have been established and well developed within my brain. On the whole training has gone well and I am excited to see just how it has paid off when I time myself when I complete my second 100m sprint.

Week Nine: Sprint Completion!!!!

I did it! I have worked for nine long weeks but I finally did it! I completed a one hundred meter sprint. It was not pretty I am sure but I felt like I had good speed going and I ran the entire distance. I finished the run and looked at my watch to see what the time was and realized that I when I thought I had started my stopwatch I actually had not. So I completed the run but do not have a time because I was too sore after running it once to run it again. I think I will do another one before the semester ends and hopefully get a time on the next one. While I ran the 100m sprint I kind of forgot to think about everything I have been working on because I was just so excited that I was running more than just twenty or thirty meters! On the next one I will hopefully remember to think beyond the thrill of running and actually remember what I am supposed to be doing. I know it seems pretty lame getting excited about a 100m sprint but the accident did a number and for awhile walking hurt so bad that I avoided it so a 100m sprint is a big step in the right direction. I know this week’s update is short but it contains an important part in actually completing my passion project goals.

Week Eight: Deceleration Phase

The deceleration phase is the final stage of the 100m sprint. It occurs in the last 40-50m. This is the first stage where the speed is not being increased but instead starts to decrease. Hence the name the deceleration phase. In this stage you try to decrease you speed as little as possible. To do this there is a big emphasis put on proper arm movements and speed. If your arms start to slow down then soon the speed of your legs starts to decrease. If your cadence decreases so will your speed. You must also stay relaxed. If you are too tense and waste energy tensing unnecessary muscles you start to lose your technique, which will result in lost speed. By keeping your stride and cadence in check it will prevent speed loss. In a sport that can be decided by hundredths of a second losing speed is not an option.

I focused on building as much speed as possible in the drive phase and acceleration phase to counter the effects of the deceleration phase. By building up greater speed earlier in the sprint my goal was to help sustain the pace I was setting. You can see my technique still needs some work for I am still leaning forward and am driving off my back foot too late but my technique is consistent when compared to the acceleration phase to the deceleration phase. I don’t make many drastic changes as I get tired. My arms are being used effectively with an aggressive arm drive. My elbows are not quite at ninety degrees but are close enough that it is not a huge worry. Going forward I will continue to work on my acceleration phase and drive phase to help improve my deceleration phase.

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Week Seven: Video Analysis & Reflection

This week I decided to look at some of the different videos of people sprinting. I was initially going to just analyze a video of myself sprinting but am kind of lacking footage since I have not been able to do a ton of running. As a result I decided to look at different videos that can be found online. I decided to look at Usain Bolt since he has had so much success in the 100m and 200m sprint. I watched his races in the Rio and London Olympics and then looked to see what made his races so special. The biggest thing I noticed was how his deceleration phase seemed to be nonexistent. While the rest of the field seems to slow down he just seems to go faster. I know that he is probably slowing down just not as much as every other athlete on the track. That is when he walks away from the field. In the blocks his hips are up, creating that straight line down his back, and you can see him explode off the line with that first step driving his knee forward. As he stands up through the transition phase into the acceleration phase his cadence seems to increase. His arms are precise and working to create extra momentum to carry him down the track. The work is done in front of his body with his knee coming through then his foot kicking out to meet the track then releasing the track shortly past his body so he can kick his foot up and around and back out. This allows his cadence to increase decreasing the amount of time spent on every stride.

It was eye opening and a great guide to see what the ultimate 100m sprint looks like. I also know that using Usain Bolt as a comparison to my students is not realistic for he has had years of practice whereas my students will be lucky to have done one or two 100m sprints in their life. I know from the peer tutoring I did in high school some students struggle to just run never mind specializing their stride. I will have to pick and choose which parts of the stride I want my students to focus on but at least now I know what it is supposed to look like and how important the different parts of the strides are to producing speed.

Week Six: Video Analysis Rubric

I decided that it would be beneficial to put the knowledge I have gathered about sprinting into a rubric or guide that I could use to analysis myself and perhaps in the future with my students. So here it is:

Block Starts: Comments:
·Hands shoulder width apart behind      the line with the thumb and index straight along the line.

·Arms are straight.

·Blocks set up properly.

·Straight line from head down to the hips.

·Knees are bent at approximately ninety degrees.

·Feet are on the blocks and off the ground.

 
Drive Phase: Comments:
·Back knee drives straight through.

·As it comes through the knee drives forward aggressively.

·Opposite arm extends overhead.

·You can draw a straight line from the back heel through the shoulder.

 
Acceleration Phase Comments:
·Standing taller-less forward lean

·Knee drives through-lower leg kicks through

·The toe kicks through and grabs the track.

·The back leg releases the track sooner allowing the heel to kick up and through faster.

·Cadence increases

·Arms are kept at ninety degrees and drive straight forward and back.

 
Deceleration Phase: Comments:
·The cadence is kept up

·The arm drive is emphasized

·The speed starts to decrease but the athlete works to keep it from dropping to much

 

 

Week Five: Transition Phase from the Drive Phase into the Acceleration Phase

This is where the most noticeable change in technique occurs. It is during this stage where the athlete finally starts to look up and stand up a bit straighter. They change from doing the work behind the body to doing more work in front of the body allowing the cadence, or speed, of their stride to increase tenfold. The front foot kicks forward and grabs the track way out in front of the athlete and then releases the track just past the body to kick the heel up and through to start the stride again. The body is no longer angled way forward and the athlete is able to stand up taller. The arms are kept at ninety degrees and drive forwards and backwards to help pick up momentum and speed. The faster the arms drive the faster the legs will be able to go. It is important not to waste energy or momentum by swinging the arms side to side. Keep them driving straightforward.

The photos below compare my body positioning to Usain Bolt. The photo was taken from a video during the 100m final at Rio this past summer. You can see my body angle is still bent forward where as Bolt is standing much taller. My arms are at ninety degrees but need to drive more aggressively to allow for the same range of motion that Bolt has. My back leg is much farther behind me whereas Bolt has almost released the track and his leg is not nearly as far behind him. His knee is bent at a greater angle allowing that leg to draw through much faster and with much more force and momentum. I am still working on developing the specialty stride. To do that I am taking time to practice A’s and B’s as well as high knees with an emphasis of keeping my chest up and my feet moving fast but clean.

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Week Four: Practice Drills & Training

I thought I would talk about some of the different drills I am doing to practice and improve my sprinting technique. These are the drills I am doing short distances now but am going to increase the length as my back becomes stronger.

Starts:

  • Initially I started the motion slowly and in control. This allowed my body to warm up and for the movement to become a bit more natural.
  • Gradually I picked up the speed until I was going as fast as I could.
  • The most beneficial drill was lifting and lowering the hips and trying to start from different positions.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition!

Drive Phase:

  • It is the first few steps after the word ‘go’ so often this gets practiced when starts are practiced.
  • During this phase your knees drive forward aggressively to practice this I do aggressive knee drive/high knees. I am not going for speed but for power and aggression.
  • If you have some sort of resistance it also works for it allows you to lean forward and pull emphasizing the need for a knee drive.

Transition Phase:

  • This is where you transition from the drive phase to the acceleration phase. The drive phase is punctured with a forward lean and long extending strides. The acceleration phase has the athlete standing up straighter kicking their feet out in front with less emphasis on the long extending back leg.
  • To practice this I would do a four-point start and then take just three steps then transition to standing- I did lots and lots of repetitions.

Acceleration Phase:

  • This is when you pick up any last speed.
  • The arms are kept at ninety degrees and pump back and forth in a straight line. The knees drive forward and the feet kick out. The toes brush the track and release earlier to allow the cadence to come up.
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • A’s- where the knees come up and the leg kicks out
  • B’s –where the knees come up and the leg kicks out and then the bottom of the foot kicks the track.
  • Sitting on the ground with the legs out in front of you start moving your arms at ninety degrees as fast as you can. You will be able to feel the moment that your arms can generate.

Deceleration Phase:

  • This is the last forty to fifty meters and is where you start to lose speed. The technique does not change much the emphasis is on keeping the cadence up.
  • I have not been able to do much to practice this part because I have not been able to reach that point of fatigue to practice sustaining my speed.

I will be honest and say some of these drills like block starts and the A’s and B’s drills had me tripping over my feet and looking pretty ridiculous. I am sure the other people on the track were entertained by my lack of coordination. I don’t think I will be practicing these drills when the track team is practicing!

Week Three: Change of Plans

Originally when I planned this project I was going to do three one hundred meter sprints and time myself throughout the semester. I thought it would be a good way to evaluate my improvement. Well that is not going to happen any more. I was in a car accident last spring that did a number to my back. As a result I have been doing rehabilitation for it. I was cleared to run finally by my physiotherapist and I thought my back was stronger than it was. It turns out that sprinting is very hard on the part of my back I hurt. So even just doing a five stride start is challenging. I think I am going to change my goal to completing a hundred meter sprint by the end of the semester. Instead I am going to work on improving my strength in my back until I can run. I will also continue to focus on analyzing parts of my sprinting stride and others to see where the problems are. I will do short amounts of running so that I can improve my technique and slowly increase my distance.

The Initial Plan In Reality
3x 100m sprints 1x 100m sprints completed
3x video analysis- analysis material to improve time and technique. Analyzed videos found online of different level sprinters instead of just myself sprinting.
Evaluated upon decrease in time and visible improvement of technique. Evaluated more on expansion of knowledge and the ability to teach the material and less on physical results.

Week Two: Block Start Analysis

Last week I took video of myself attempting block starts for the first time. This week I took the time to analysis what I did. So my attempts at block starts were not the best. I used images that were given to me by the professor of the track and field class to compare myself to. You are supposed to have a straight back that is basically in line from the hips through the back of the head. I looked a lot like a camel. I had my head up looking down the track instead of looking down at the track. I had a very nice curved spine with my hips sticking way up in the air. I had straightened my knees too much causing the high hips and rounded back. I also was rocked backwards towards my feet rather than straightening my arms and leaning forward so that my shoulders were in front of my hands. This is just the start of my attempt at block starts. When I started moving it didn’t get any better either!

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You can see in the figure below how there is a straight line from the heel through the back to the opposite shoulder. In my case I am staying hunched forwards with my upper body but standing tall with my hips. This provides me with the feeling of the forward lean without actually being in that position. My knee comes forward but it needs to reach more aggressively. My back leg needs to straighten even more. I also need to extend my back arm back and allow for a bit more rotation through my back. My front arm needs to drive forward.

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