Phase 3 – Go!
Then on the command “Go” or when the gun is fired the athlete reacts by lifting the hands from the
track, swinging the arms vigorously and driving with both legs off the blocks and into the first
running strides. After the go command this leads onto the Acceleration phase.
Neck Flexion (Sternocleidomastoid) Shoulder extension (Teres Major, Latissimus Dorsi) Elbow
Extension (Triceps) Knee Flexion (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus) Plantar Flexion
(Gastrocnemius, Soleus) Knee Extension (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis) Dorsal
Flexion (ankle flexion) Tibialis
The sprint start involves all the bones in the entire lower body in particular the appendicular
skeleton as the limbs are utilized a lot more than the axial skeleton.
The arms are thrown back and the legs are pushed against the starting blocks. The movement is
much like doing a power clean with weights.
Reaction time of the sprinter which is usually around .1 – .2 seconds. This is the amount of time
it takes the sprinter to leave the blocks after the gun is fired.
This is more a physiological response. But it involves the arm accompanying your front leg
being abducted in a backward motion. At the same time the trail leg (the more powerful leg)
extends forward with the calve muscle straight and the humurus being bent at the knee. The
second step involves the same movement with the opposite leg and arm.
The sprinter comes out of the blocks and gradually comes up to an almost erect position over 15-
30m varying on the athlete. The steps start small and gradually lengthen. Continuous abduction
and adduction of the Triceps and Deltoids continues with the arms bent at the elbow driving
down towards the hips. The hamstrings, glutes and quads continue to control the movement of
the legs and the step length is slowly starting to increase about ½ a shoe length each step taken.
The feet are not dorsi flexed or plantar flexed at this stage and should remain flat, as it would
weaken the power generated from the start. . The spine is naturally abducting away from the
trunk as this stage is taking place.
Once the Transition phase is finished. The sprinter will be in an almost upright position.
Maintaining a 10-degree lean forward. The feet should by now around 30m into the race are
starting to dorsi-flex.
Once into the position maintaining 10-degree and the acceleration is over usually by 40m at the
most an efficient running style, which involves elimination of any possible defects such as back
kicking is introduced. This skill is hard to learn but can be learnt through a series of sprint drills
which emphasize correct movement.
The ankle is Dorsi flexed and the leading leg is extended forward with the calf bent at the knee
underneath the hamstring and quad. The trail leg appears to be extended backwards if shown in
slow motion. But only appears so as the front leg is being abducted from the trunk. The back
ankle also looks like it is being plantar flexed but is actually resting on the ground by the
phalanges of the foot. The same process is then repeated with the other leg. The arms their
motions as explained before but drive up to below eye level instead of down towards the ground
by this stage.
After striking forward the lead leg comes down straight not backwards, as the other leg comes
forward. It then brushes against the ground the ankle remaining in its dorsi-flexed position but
naturally the calcaneus adjusts to a flattish position when it impacts against the ground. The
hamstring and quads are driving the calves and ankles in a scraping drag along the ground.
When the leg comes back from scraping the hamstring flexes back up and passes beneath the
gluteus in a bicycle like motion. It then goes back to a grab position.
- 6th Form Skill Breakdown Assignment
- Handout sheets from IPC Sports Performance