International Journal of Exercise Science 6(4) : 320-327, 2013. For many athletes, sprinting acceleration is vital to sport performance. The purpose of this study was to observe the influences of starting position, type of initial step taken, and a focal point on sprinting velocity, stride length, and acceleration over a 9.1 m distance. Two trials of four conditions were video recorded in which subjects had no focal point (n = 10) or a lateral focal point (n = 9). The four conditions were: forwards (control), backwards, 90° left (90°L), and 90° right (90°R). Lower velocities (p > 0.05) were observed with focal point usage from the 90°R and 90°L starting positions. Four initial steps were observed during the forwards, 90°L, and 90°R conditions: backwards step, anterior tilt with forward step, pivot-crossover step, and lateral side step. The use of a backwards step resulted in an increased velocity (+0.80 m·s-1, p < 0.01) for the 90° turn trials and increased acceleration (+ 0.37 m·s-2,p < 0.01). Our results indicate that looking at a target can cause a decline in sprint velocity and acceleration over a short distance. Moreover, utilizing a backwards step to initiate a 90° turn may generate more power and force, increasing their velocity for short sprints. We recommend training athletes with a target or focal points to help combat the reduced speed and initiate movement with initial backwards step.
Dysterheft, Jennifer L.; Lewinski, William J.; Seefeldt, Dawn A.; and Pettitt, Robert W.
"The Influence of Start Position, Initial Step Type, and Usage of a Focal Point on Sprinting Performance,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 6
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol6/iss4/7