I had never used start blocks until today. Since I had never used start blocks before I had to learn how to setup the start blocks before I even looked at how to do a block start. The blocks that I was using had little spikes that stuck into the rubberized track. To place the strip that held the blocks you use your foot as a guide. Your heel was on the start line and where the end of your toe is that is where the start of the strip was put. Now that I had the strip in place I had to figure out how to set the distance of the stagger. I was taught to measure two of my feet and place the block that I would use for my front foot when I am in my starting stance. For my back block I measured three of my feet before placing it. The only part of the block still to be setup is the angle that your feet will be held at. For the front foot you want it set on either of the bottom two notches and the back foot on either of the top two notches. This part of the setup requires some trials to establish personal preferences. I am sure professional sprinters have their own personal way they like their blocks set up but for a beginner block user this puts you in a good position to start to perform block starts.

After setting up my blocks I then had to get into the blocks. You have your dominant leg as your front leg. When your feet are in the blocks you want your toes off the ground. I had a bit of difficulty with that part; start blocks are not quite running shoe friendly. Normally sprinters wear spikes that stick into the start blocks. My runners had a tendency of sliding down until my toes touched the track. Next you put your hands down right behind the start line. You want your hands turned out so your index fingers are along the line with your thumbs turned inwards to continue the line from your index finger. When you lift your hips up you want them to lift until your back is straight. This means your knees should be just above 90 degrees. Your shoulders should be over your hands with your weight over the start line. This is just basic starting block technique.

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On ‘go’ the back knee drives forward aggressively. Your leading leg is extending as explosively as possible. Your body angle stays leaning forward keeping a straight line from the back of the head to the toe of the back leg. This technique is continued until the transition phase. I took video which I will analysis next week to see how close I am to the actual technique.

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