Posted January 08, 2010
By Doug Hix
There are a number of skills a sprinter will need to master in order to become the best and most efficient runner they can be. A few of these skills are proper leg cycle, arm action, ground/foot contact and body position. We will be covering these skills throughout this four-part sprinting skill series.
During track season a coach must focus on preparing their athletes for the intensity of track meets. This means intense conditioning practices and full speed sprinting seasons. Since physical expenditure is so prevalent during track season, athletes and coaches should spend a fair amount of their time focusing on skill training during the off-season.
In part one of our series, I will focus on what I believe is the foundation for all running: the core. Surely, you have heard a great deal about core over the years. Itâ€™s a region that has more to it than simply some crunches here and there. The core is the foundation of the body and the center of all its movements.
The posture or positioning of the core is second to none in terms of allowing the body to move and transfer energy efficiently. In order to better posture, we suggest performing a pelvic tilt exercise to build a better foundation. Many track coaches refer to the pelvic tilt when they say, â€œTuck your hipsâ€.
The easiest way to understand and experience what â€œtucked hipsâ€ feels like is by performing a posterior pelvic tilt. Simply lie flat on the floor with your knees bent up in the air and your feet flat on the ground. Next, push the low back flat to the ground NOT by using the gluts (butt) or by pushing your feet hard into the ground, but by pulling the front part of the pubic bones up towards the front of the chest. This will fire the front of the abdominal wall. This is the posterior pelvic tilt.
For athletes who aspire to run fast, it is essential they learn to run with â€œtucked hipsâ€.
Again, during track season your time needs to be designated to specific preparation for meets. This means allowing your kids to focus their mental brainpower on running fast. If you throw the thought of a technique into the equation they now are focusing on the technique and not running fast. Teaching the tucked hips position to a young athlete is done best while they are less than full speed. This enables them to focus on the technique and not the recruitment of all their muscles to fire fast. Runners should spend the first couple of weeks every off-season trying to perfect the primary movement of a great sprinter: running with tucked hips.