Week One: Block Starts

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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Passion Project Outline

This semester we were asked to find something that we were passionate about or interested in and then find a way to teach ourselves about it. This is why it is called a passion project. To complete this assignment we were asked to design our own personal learning plan (PLP) and to use our own personal learning network (PLN) to support our PLP. This student directed, student interest learning style is a new style of learning that is being implemented in different schools throughout Canada and the United States. Here in Victoria, there is a school called the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry that is using student directed learning rather than teacher directed learning. The point of this style of learning is to motivate students to look at topics that they find interesting rather just having a teacher stand in front of the class and lecture and then have students write some sort of exam on what was lectured.

I decided that for this project I would learn how to be a more proficient sprinter. Sprinting uses fast twitch muscles and as a rower we train these fast twitch muscle fibers as we use fast twitch muscles in our races. It is also a skill that I will be able to use as I move forward into my career as a physical education teacher. When you initially hear sprinting you think, how hard could sprinting be? All you do is run fast. In truth, there are many different parts to sprinting. There is the start, the drive phase, a transition phase, a specialty stride and cadence. Sprinting is very complex so I have decided that this this term I am going to work on my sprinting stride. Although my time should decrease, my main focus is learning the steps to become a stronger sprinter. I will track my process through video analysis that will be periodically taken throughout the term. I will also time a 100meter sprint and do that three times throughout the semester. The goal is by the third time taking video and timing the sprint that there will be a remarkable visual difference in the technique and an improvement in the time.