The Phases Of Sprinting

by | Aug 21, 2016 | Acceleration, Get faster, Sprinting | 0 comments

Solo Soccer Training looks at the phases of sprinting

Explosion. The first strides.

This is the instantaneous moment that your body makes the decision to being sprinting. In Soccer, this moment may be while lying on the floor after a slide tackle, or with your back to goal on the half way line following a clearance. It’s not as simple as in athletics, there is no starting gun and our posture can be all over the place. The quicker you can get into an optimal sprinting position, the quicker you will accelerate.

  • Exhale
  • Drive the arms hard
  • Extend the whole body so there is a straight line through the head, spine and extended rear leg – body approx. 45 degree angle to the ground
  • Eyes Focused forwards 2 or 3 yards, but maintain awareness and continue to look around if appropriate. This is soccer, things can change at any second.
  • Stride and Drive. If you’re on the ground don’t jump up, do everything in a running motion. Plant your foot hard into the ground and drive forward with force.
image of theo walcott performing high knees

Walcott practicing ‘high knees’. A Solo Soccer Training drill that can be done on an individual basis

Acceleration Phase (0-30m)

This is where we try to pick up the pace. Nobody can run at 100% after 5 yards, but we can all optimise the time it takes us to reach top speed.

  • Remain low to the ground and forcefully drive your rear leg forward. When you drive the foot back down, you want to be htting the ground just behind your bodies centre of mass, this is why it’s important to lean forward roughly 45°.
  • During the first 8 strides, the 45° degree angle should slowly be increase to 30° degrees, atlerating the angle of our shin to near verticle and slight ‘uprighting’ our torso.
  • When done correctly, at this stage you will have reached 70% of your max velocity.
  • Eyes focused forwards to your traget position.
  • Forward lean of the whole body in a straight line right through the head, spine and extended rear leg
  • Relax your face and neck, any tension in these areas wastes unneccessary tension.
  • Shoulders should be held back and low, square to the direction you want to sprint.
  • Arms move up and down in a smooth forward backward action – not across the body.
  • Elbows maintained at 90 degrees. Creating a right angle between the fore and upper arm.
  • Hands Relaxed – fingers loosely curled.
  • Legs – fully extended rear leg pushing off the track with the toes – drive the leg forward with a high knee action with the knee pointing forward. Drive the foot down in a claw action with your toes turned up (see Dorsiflexion) and the ball of your foot striking the ground.
  • Deliberate try to balance ast leg action with good stride length to allow continual acceleration.
  • The drive is maintained for first 20-30 metres (approx.16-17 strides) at the end of which the body is tall with a slight forward lean
  • At the end of this phase you will be at approx. 90% of your max velocity
decorative image of Usain Bolt dorsiflexion

Usain Bolt features dorsiflexion into his sprinting technique

Stride Phase (30-60m)

Once you have fully accelerated, you’ll be coming to your maximum speed. To reach and prolong this period you need to ensure a relaxed and smooth motion. All movements need to be timely and synchronized, thing carefully about the movements your body is making and the rhythm of the movements. Prolong that rhythm and you will prolong your ability to run at maximum speed. 

  • Head in line with the spine – held high and square
  • Shoulders held down (long neck), back (not hunched), relaxed and square.
  • Smooth forward backward action of the arms.
  • Elbows still held at 90 degrees at all times (angle between upper arm and lower arm)
  • On the ball of foot with the feet pointing forwards.
  • Appearance of being Tall, Relaxed and Smooth with maximum Drive
  • At or close to the end of this phase you will have reached your max velocity
image of Aubameyang sprinting

Notice the forward leaning posture of Aubameyang

Lift Phase (60m+)

Inevitably we begin to slow down. In soccer, our sprints are not often long enough to reach this face. Any deceleration is often instant and occurring before we reach maximum velocity. However, to improve your maximum velocity, it is important to practice full sprints at complete an adequate lift phase. The lift phase is all about prolonging speed for as long as possible. While 100m sprinters slow down in the final phase of the race, this is not deliberate and all off the actions the sprinters is taking aimed at prolonging their time at top speed.

  • High knee action (prancing)
  • Leg action fast and light as if running on hot surface
  • Fast arms – more urgency

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