contents Volume 6, Number 2 November 2012
A Letter from the President
Division I Track & Field Division I Cross Country
Division II Track & Field Division II Cross Country
Division III Track & Field Division III Cross Country
Neuromuscular Imbalances and Sprinting
by Matthew Gildersleeve 22
Endurance Training Using the six minute time trial as the foundation for Endurance Training by Brian Jilka B.S.ed
Perceptive Intelligence Making sense of field training by Todd Linder, Patrick Barragan and peter McNaughton
Trusting the Process Implementing process goals for inexperienced and struggling athletes by Landon Bright
Updates from the NCAA Eligibility Center by John Pfeffenberger
AWARDS USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2012 The Bowerman Finalist 2012
Cover photograph by Kirby Lee
A Letter From the President
his installment of my president’s report is being composed on I-80 as my team, my long time assistant coach Ann Ringlein and I travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to run in the Roy Griak Invitational tomorrow. I purposely waited to write this report until we were on the trip. As Track & Field/Cross Country coaches, we all spend a great amount of time on buses and airplanes traveling to our competitions. I looked at this trip to Minnesota as an opportunity to write while actually “on the job.” I am not sure about everyone else , but I look forward to and enjoy my bus time. It gives me a chance to have some uninterrupted time to read and get some writing or paper work done in a generally low stress environment. Sitting up front in our “reserved” seats, Ann and I are able to catch up a bit with not only planning future training for our runners, but also about what’s going on with our families and current events. I have always felt that road trips are an important part of the team building process. Even though our student-athletes may be together each day a couple of hours during practice time, those hours are primarily focused on training. The demands of classes and other on-campus activities limits how much time our team members can see each other outside of practice. Travelling together, however, allows our student-athletes to mutually experience the bus, the movies, the meals, the hotel, the rest stops and all of the other things involved in competing on the road. One of our traditions is to have the seniors say a few words at the end of the season banquet. It seems like a good deal of their memories are related to the trips they experienced during their competitive career. While the miles may seem long at times, the hotel beds a bit hard and the fast food a little too “fast”, I not only enjoy the road trips but also believe they are a valuable part of the student-athlete experience. The USTFCCCA board of directors held their summer meeting via conference call on Aug. 16. It was the final meeting for three board members completing their terms. Aaron Russell (D2 at large), Chris Hall (D3 track) and Greg Huffaker (D3 XC) all did excellent work during their tenure and I thank them for their excellent service. Damon Martin (D2 at large) and Kathy Lenese (D3 XC) began their terms at the conclusion of the August meeting. Kari Kluckhorn is actually changing roles on the board as she moves from the D3 at large position to D3 Track president. Gary Aldrich will be taking over the D3 at large spot. I am also happy to announce that Larry Cole has been appointed the new treasurer of the USTFCCCA. This report will reach you around Nov. 1 meaning that the annual USTFCCCA convention is getting close. If you have not registered or made your hotel reservations yet, I urge you to do so quickly. Our CEO Sam Seemes and his staff have been working hard to organize what I know will be an outstanding convention. We have been setting attendance records at every convention and I fully expect us to do so again. I hope to see many of you throughout this fall, but if we do not have an opportunity to meet, I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!
dr. ted bulling President, USTFCCCA director of track & field and cross country, nebraska wesleyan university email@example.com
P.S. – About two hours after I submitted this report to Mike Corn at the USTFCCCA offices, for the first time in my 30 years of riding buses to meets, our bus broke down. I think I jinxed our trip with my glowing words of how great bus trips were! Many thanks to Dan Hostager and the Drake University team for giving us a lift to the next town on their bus!
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Publisher Sam Seemes Executive Editor Mike Corn Associate Editor Sylvia Kamp MEDIA MANAGER Tom Lewis Membership Services Mandi Magill Photographer Kirby Lee Editorial Board Tommy Badon,
Larry Judge, Boo Schexnayder, Dr. Ralph Vernacchia, Gary Winckler
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techniques (ISSN 1939-3849) is published quarterly in February, May, August, and November by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. techniques is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in techniques are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazines’ managers or owners. Periodical Postage Paid at New Orleans La and Additional Entry Offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: USTFCCCA, PO Box 55969, Metairie, LA 70055-5969. If you would like to advertise your business in techniques, please contact Mike Corn at (504) 599-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division l Track & Field and Cross Country
President, NCAA Division I Track and Field Coaches
President, NCAA Division I CROSS COUNTRY Coaches
s the leaves begin to fall here in Kentucky, I am thinking of the excitement that is to follow in the next few months as we begin the 2013 season! Many things have changed since our last publication. We welcome all new members of our USTFCCCA Executive Committee. We thank the members who have served the committee and now move on to other endeavors. We welcome the continued support and ideas of each of the NCAA Conferences and their membership. We have also had a change in the USTFCCCA National Office with the addition of Dave Svoboda who replaces Shannon Wright who has “retired” after the birth of her baby. Shannon, we wish you the best and thank you for your dedication and service. Dave has jumped in and provided on-going communication to the membership following Shannon’s departure. As your president, my goal is to continue to foster open lines of communication with our new NCAA liaison Dr. Holly Sheilley and further improve our working relationship between USTFCCCA, the NCAA Track and Field Committee and the NCAA National Office. Throughout this fall and winter, our agenda will have us working to improve our future Outdoor and Indoor NCAA Championships. We will press forward on the Division I Strategic Plan that we passed at the 2009 National Convention. This plan will direct us toward a long term vision that will ultimately demonstrate improvements in, and the preservation of, our great sport. We will work diligently with our Championship Advisory Committee chaired by Beth Alford-Sullivan. We will continue to work with the NCAA Track and Field Subcommittee to streamline the NCAA Preliminary rounds experience for the athletes and coaches at both the East and West locations. I have appointed Ben Paxton as the new chair of the Awards Committee and have asked the committee to look at ways we can enhance and make the awards we give even more meaningful. I would like to express my appreciation to the membership as it continues to be an honor to serve as your president. As we open the 2013 season, keep focused on the tasks and goals that lie ahead to keep track and field the world’s greatest sport! Track and field and cross country is at its highest level of participation in NCAA history. I want to encourage you to go to our website and register for our national convention which will take place December 17-20 in Orlando, Fl. Come to the convention early to participate in the Track and Field Academy courses that start on Dec. 15. On Tuesday, our keynote address will be given by Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances. Plan to attend and fully participate in all the seminars, legislative process, fellowship and education. Ron Mann is the Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach at the University of Louisville. Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
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his letter is being written while I am on a trip with the Dartmouth cross country team to Pennsylvania. We travel most of the day on Thursday, compete on Friday and then travel home. On Saturday, our coaching staff will greet a group of prospective student-athletes on campus for their official visit. They will head home on Monday and we will get back to our practice routine. I share this with you to let you know that I understand how busy all of us are on a daily, weekly and yearly basis, so I appreciate you taking time to read this and to stay current on our coach’s association. Our Executive Committee works together on conference calls on a regular basis. Two topics in particular are worth noting. First, the NCAA has asked us to take a look at the XC handbook in regard to course requirements. The NCAA has often been faced with very limited bids for either regional or national championships. The result has been that some championships are given to hosts and sites that do not fulfill our specified course criteria. I am on a sub-committee taking a look at the issue. We will work with the NCAA on this and one long-term goal is to get more certified courses into the championship rotation. Another topic is our national and regional polls. I feel that our region reps are doing a good job with this on a regular basis. You can help make the polls more accurate by making sure your region rep sees your results and you share information on your roster. Along the same lines, please make sure your sports information office is publicizing the poll. We are ranking fifteen men’s and women’s teams in our nine regions. This has to be positive PR for many of our teams; lets make sure the word gets out. I am also making my plans to attend the national convention in Orlando. I hope that you are doing the same. The convention always has a lot going on. Last year, due to a change in our legislative bylaws, we discussed a large number of topics but did not vote on them. Those votes will take place at this year’s convention. If you have any proposals for the convention agenda, please send them to me and the national office. In 2011, we rolled out a sample national ranking of our top 64 teams. We will do so again this year and plan to publicize it more actively. With all of our results going through TFRRS this year, the national office will literally be able to build the rankings using the results of every meet we participate in this fall. Finally, this is the first year where our regional meets will take place on Friday and our national meet on the following Saturday. I hope that this format will do what it was designed to do: open up more possible sites for the regionals and build a bigger crowd for the finals. Louisville is very excited to host and I look forward to a great event there. Barry Harwick is the Head Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country Coach at Dartmouth College. Barry can be reached at Barry.Harwick@Dartmouth.EDU.
Division ll Track & Field and Cross Country
President, NCAA Division II TRACK & FIELD Coaches
President, NCAA Division II CROSS COUNTRY Coaches
hope your cross country season is going well and that you are making plans to be at the 2012 USTFCCCA Convention in December. I would like to thank each of the committee members for their participation over the last few months and Sterling Martin for the job he is doing as second Vice President. As you might have heard, the 2013 Winter Sports Festival has been moved to Birmingham, Ala., to the Birmingham Crossplex. The facility features a hydraulic indoor track and is the only indoor facility of its type in Alabama. The facility has a 500-person meeting space and features room for 4,500 spectators. We are currently visiting with officials to possibly host a “pre-national” meet that would allow our schools to compete some time in late January or February. This past summer, the NCAA DII Track & Field Committee met to discuss proposals that were sent forth by our USTFCCCA members. At the Indoor Championships, the 3K will be a straight final on the second day right before the 4 x 400 relay. The 5K will be placed on the first day before the 200 prelims. The NCAA accepted our proposal of having the minimum numbers of 16-14-12 for indoor and 20-16-14 for outdoor but have added a maximum number on the individual events for the reason of meet management. Indoor will have a max of 20 and outdoor 24, per gender per event. The NCAA DII T&F committee will fill the total number allowed for both indoor and outdoor. The group also voted to allow only the throwing weights provided by UCS, the official equipment provider, to be used for the indoor track and field championships. Competitors may use their own implements for all other events at the indoor track and field championships and all events for the outdoor championships as long as they pass certification and weigh-in. I would encourage each member of DII to come to the Convention this December. Please review the 2011 minutes on the USTFCCCA website, as well as our handbook. Also, remember to submit nominations for both the Coaches Hall of Fame and Division II Athlete Hall of Fame by Dec. 1. Nomination information can be found online. Another item of importance is membership. Please encourage coaches in your conference or region that are not actively involved in our association to attend the convention and get involved. We are here to protect our sport and our athletes. We would like to congratulate the athletes and the institutions in the Olympic Games that were former Division 2 participants. Some were D2 HOF inductees. All represented their countries and our organization well. I wish you and your teams the very best this season and hope to see you in Orlando, Fla.
hen you read this, I am sure that your mind will be on the recent conference championships that have just been completed and thinking forward to the regional and national championship meets. It is the most exciting time of the cross country season! This fall will be even more exciting as we have added additional teams that will qualify for the National Meet in Joplin, Mo., on Nov. 17. Each region now will advance three teams automatically per region, along with the eight additional bonus berths based on the previous years’ national meet -for a total of 32 teams, rather than the previous 24 teams. Additionally, the regional meets will now automatically advance three individuals per region, rather than just two – for a total of 24 individuals, rather than the previous 16 individuals. These changes will create a national championship meet with 248 participants, rather than the current 184 athletes, which is something I think coaches and athletes alike are excited about. Speaking of Joplin, you should have received a couple different letters and emails regarding the Joplin Initiative fundraiser which has been spearheaded by Aaron Russell of Lock Haven University. Hopefully, you have had a chance to get your athletes involved in this unique and meaningful fundraising opportunity. I think the fact that there will be 250 Division II athletes meeting in Joplin on Nov. 17 for the National Championships will make this effort even more meaningful to them as they are able to see the city where their efforts have been directed. I am sure most of you have been watching the cross country rankings that have been coming out from the national office. T.J. Garlatz has been handling the men’s national rankings and Keever Henry has taken over the women’s national rankings. This year we have expanded the rankings to the top 35, which has been exciting, although it presents some challenges due to the difficulty of separating teams that in many cases are very close in strength. The Polls Committee is considering some changes in how they are ranked for next year, which we plan to address at the convention in December. If you have a former athlete that you feel is deserving of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, please get those nominations to Dana Schwarting (firstname.lastname@example.org ) no later than Dec. 1. I look forward to working with you in Orlando at the convention! If you have not registered yet, do so before the Nov. 30 advance registration deadline. The convention really is the place to be to help move our sport forward. There are so many opportunities from the meetings to being able to network with the other coaches. I hope to see you there!
Steve Guymon is the Head Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Coach at Harding University. Steve can be reached at email@example.com
Marlon Brink is Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country coach at Wayne State College. Marlon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division llI Track & Field and Cross Country
President, NCAA Division III TRACK & FIELD Coaches
President, NCAA Division III cross country Coaches
Kari Kluckhohn is the Head Women’s Track and Field Coach at North Central College. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Kathy Lanese is the Head Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Coach at Case Western Reserve University. Kathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
t is with great enthusiasm that I begin my two-year term as president for Division III. I am fortunate to have Gary Aldrich of Carnegie Mellon (first vice president), Jason Maus of Ohio Northern (second vice president), and our outstanding regional representatives as partners in promoting Division III Track and Field. Also, the Board of Directors has also approved Larry Cole, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, as the new treasurer of the USTFCCCA. The 2012 USTFCCCA convention is just around the corner. I encourage all members to become engaged in the development of our sport by committing these few days in December to quality coaches’ education, thoughtful discussion, and meaningful social development. I have attended this convention for the past fifteen years and I have never regretted going. As a young coach of a brandnew program in 1997, I needed to find a place to learn from those that had been in the game for many years. I also wanted to find support from others in this field. Those early conventions proved to be invaluable to my development as a coach. By attending the convention, I also developed a sense of responsibility to further my sport of choice. I began to see the bigger picture of track and field and not solely focus on “my team”. I began to understand that I could have an even greater impact on my own athletes and program if I looked out for the greater good of Division III track and field. That is why I committed to not only attending the convention but to becoming engaged and involved, quite literally an active participant. It is a place where we actually get to spend time with people that love what we love. It provides a forum for change. This will be an exciting year for Division III track and field. We will be discussing the expansion of the Indoor Championships for 2014 along with a proposed schedule to submit to the NCAA III Championships Committee. Initial work was done on these items at the 2011 convention. We will also present the NCAA Indoor Track Facility Conversion Summary. All divisions were represented in this study. Division III was well-represented by Garrick Larson of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. We will also continue with regional break-out sessions which should provide more opportunity for involvement and deeper discussion on relevant issues. I encourage you all to take advantage of learning from the best at the Track & Field Academy. Courses span from Saturday, Dec. 15, through Monday, Dec. 17. Some last one day, others two. These are certification courses. If you cannot attend the academy in December, please see the USTFCCCA website for other locations and dates across the country. There will also be close to forty symposium sessions presented by an impressive list of coaches throughout the convention.
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all greetings as cross country is well underway! National rankings have taken a new direction as new teams have entered the ranks as the racing season progresses. I am thankful to Vice President Robert Shankman and Secretary Dustin Dimit for compiling the national polls and to the Regional Representatives for their individual input each week for the regional polls and national votes. This dedicated group has completed the process with diligence, accuracy and timeliness each week. We are still waiting for a decision from the NCAA regarding regional realignment and we are hopeful they will carefully evaluate and thoughtfully consider our proposal we toiled over in the spring then set forth this summer. In addition to our quest for a balanced and equitable realignment, I was asked by Sam Seemes to participate as a member of a discussion group. This group consists of the cross country presidents, Barry Harwick from Division I (Dartmouth), Marlon Brink Division II (Wayne State) and me. We joined forces for our first conference call with Marlon being our lead. The hour discussion came to a close with the understanding that among all divisions (I, II and III), it is often difficult to attract more than one school to offer to host a NCAA Regional/National Championship. The notes from our discussion were given to USTFCCCA President Ted Bulling for further review. The plan is to continue a working discussion with the potential to submit our ideas to the NCAA. After our call, Marlon Brink completed a summation. • “We would like to find out why schools are not bidding to host and what can be done to encourage more schools to host.” • “We concluded that if multiple schools are bidding to host Regional/National Championships then it may simplify the process for the NCAA when choosing between an adequate versus inadequate site for hosting these meets. “ The convention is soon upon us and as all the executive committee officers will reverberate, PLEASE ATTEND and encourage others to attend in Orlando, Fla., in December. Voices will be heard, ideas will be exchanged, coach’s education will be at its best and you may even walk away with a new coaching collaboration from someone outside your Division III world. My best to everyone for the remainder of this season and may the rest of the season be one of health, happiness and the greatest amount of success you can attain for you and your teams. Happy Trails!
HIGH SCHOOL REPORT WAYNE CLARK
s coaches, we encourage our athletes to dedicate themselves throughout the calendar year, to practice harder every day and to continuously enhance their competitive performance. It’s our professional responsibility to inspire this improvement. However, once coaches find their niche, they sometimes fall into the old hum drum of doing the same training and procedures year in and year out. Occasionally teams continue to succeed, but more often than not, programs tend to “go stale” because the coach has failed to continuously enlighten themselves throughout their career. Of course there are many great coaching clinics and workshops for coaches to attend, like those held in conjunction with the USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 17-20. And, together with the many locally sponsored workshops, many states have their own association clinics. Attending any of these gatherings is an important means of maintaining your credibility as a meaningful coach. One great resource for professional development is the USTFCCCA Track & Field Academy, which offers a huge variety of certification granting programs. Most of these offerings occur during our “off seasons.” However, questions usually arise “in-season” involving particular training or technical attributes of a skill. Where does the coach go for answers when these situations arise? The following is a brief listing of websites that, for some coaches, have proven to be effective in advancing coaching techniques and answering questions any time during the year. For news from the collegiate ranks: www.ustfccca.org, www.elitetrack.com For meet results: www.tfrrs.org (the most comprehensive listing of college results anywhere), www.milesplit.com For track stories and sport promotion: www.flotrack.org, www.trackandfieldnews.com Training: www.completetrackandfield.com, www.hurdlesfirst. com, www.hurdlecentral.com/TrainingTechnique.html This is obviously only a sample listing, as we all know, there are hundreds of webpages available for the inquisitive coach. If you have favorite professional sites which will benefit coaches, please email them to Don Helberg, Chairman of the National State Senate of High School Track Coaches. Don will list them on the National Senate webpage www.nationalsenate.org. As mentioned earlier, the USTFCCCA National Convention is in Orlando on December 17-20th. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet and/or reacquaint with other professionals while learning innovative techniques to share with coaches and athletes back home. I’ll see you in Orlando! Wayne Clark is the Clinic Chair of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Neuromuscular imbalances and sprinting BY matthew gildersleeve
kirby lee PHOTO
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kirb y lee photo
thletic coaching can involve observation of a motor control task and then proposing guidance to an athlete about how the task performance can be developed. Coaches can identify the technique elements that seem to hinder performance and then provide instruction. Recently, a variety of training methods were proposed to enhance sprint performance, however a number of authors have identified these methods as characterised by low scientific evaluation or support (Brown & Vescovi, 2012; Jones, Bezodis, & Thompson, 2009). This article will outline a scientifically robust neuromuscular theory underlying poor movement techniques that may be visible when coaches observe sprint performance. The goal of this article is to inform the sprint coach of a method to identify and correct suboptimal biomechanics to enhance athletic performance.
The concepts in this article are derived from the physical therapy literature where the theory has been used to typically rehabilitate an individual after injury. Since the goal of both physical therapy rehabilitation and sports performance is to optimise human movement to achieve a functional goal, a direct link between these fields emerges. Unfortunately, these fields have yet to successfully interact within the sprint literature. This article attempts to fill the gap for the benefit of athletic training. Although there is substantial scientific understanding existing on the biomechanics of sprinting (Jones, et al., 2009), there is a lack of usage of this evidence by sprint coaches. Consequently, further efforts are necessary to link this gap involving scientists, sprint coaches and athletes. An essential aspect of sprinting instruction is the organization of correct motor coordination (Mero, Komi, & Gregor, 1992). Coaches usually employ a range of sprinting exercises to promote an effective sprint technique (de Villarreal, Requena, & Cronin,
2012). These exercises are constructed to facilitate the competitor to learn and develop precise components of the sprint (Brown & Ferrigno, 2005). The coach must be aware that for these exercises to be successful, the athlete must activate the muscles to produce precise kinematic and kinetic patterns that are consistent with the latest research for optimal biomechanics in sprinting (e.g. Dugan & Bhat, 2005). Keeping up to date with the latest research is a key skill that’s essential for professional development. This “lifelong learning” ability is recognised as a significant attribute of graduates in universities all around the world. For example, the University of Tasmania states, “Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning in pursuit of personal and professional development” (University of Tasmania, 2012). This article advocates that the foundation of poor sprint technique originates from one or more muscle imbalances (dysfunctional motor patterns) within the athlete (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Consequently, this article aims
Figure 1: Supination, Pronation, Neutral foot positions (posterior view)
Table 1: Changes in the position of four joints in the kinetic chain as a function of supination or pronation of the foot. Changes from supination to pronation are in bold (adapted from Dugan & Bhat, 2005)
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to outline a method for the sprint coach that is capable of identifying and correcting this dysfunction to establish correct motor control. Once the fundamentals of the technique are corrected using this method, the athlete can progress to complex sprinting exercises. Essentially, correcting an imbalance can be viewed as a similar approach to injury rehabilitation used in physical therapy. However in the case of the article, poor technique is the impetus for corrective exercises, instead of injured tissue.
Success is determined by the Sprinter’s Kinetic Chain Integration In sprinting, the objective is to travel a short distance at maximum speed. To execute the required force to drive the sprinter as rapidly as possible to the finish line, the entire body must be integrated as a whole. In physical therapy, this philosophy is commonly referred to as the kinetic chain (Kibler, Press, & Sciascia, 2006). The kinetic chain is a synchronized movement of body elements (legs, spine, and arms) that are linked by joints. Motor control scientists understand that each component in the kinetic chain determines how the movement is executed and the subsequent outcome of the task. If a segment of this linkage is distorted, the other segments will change their force sequence, output and timing (Kibler & Sciascia, 2004). This is of importance for correct technique in sprinting because if the coach focuses merely on hip motion and neglects to notice that the trunk muscles are the cause of abnormal hip movement, the primary perpetrator of poor technique has not been acknowledged, which will result in limited correction to technique. Even the smallest change in position of one segment in the kinetic chain can have enormous consequences for optimal sprint technique. This is effectively illustrated for the simple one dimensional supination/ pronation movement of the foot (Figure 1). The influence of this movement at four joints in the kinetic chain is listed in Table 1.
research and principles to identify risk of overuse injuries and to enhance sprint performance. The appraisal method of sprint technique must result in a comprehensive and precise analysis of every dysfunctional segment of the musculoskeletal system. When considering the sprint movement pattern, the coach must consider each segment of the body as a three dimensional movement and how it relates to the final outcome. This requires intimate knowledge of sprint biomechanics (e.g. Mero, Komi, Gregor, 1992; Dugan & Bhat, 2005; Hunter, Marshall, McNair, 2005; Bushnell & Hunter, 2007; Novacheck, 1998 ; Anderson, 1996). If technique is corrected, the coach can capitalize on the potential of the athlete. Once an assessment of movement quality has been undertaken a comprehensive training program is required to optimize technique. By understanding the correct biomechanics and then identifying deficiencies in the athlete, an exercise program consisting of flexibility, proprioception, stability, strength and endurance at each body sector is desired for accurate kinetic coordination (Sciascia & Cromwell, 2012). If this is accomplished, the energy and the forces produced by the athlete’s movement can be transmitted efficiently and effectively to increase their velocity of the sprint (Cissik, 2007). An example of dysfunctional sprint mechanics may involve the sprinter who cannot stabilize a movement during the 100m sprint, resulting in inefficient force propulsion
Overview and Rationale The evaluation and identification process preceding sprint specific speed training must incorporate the entire body as a kinetic chain. The coach must be able to relate musculoskeletal structures to their function in sprinting (e.g. Oatis, 2004). “To understand the running cycle, one has to have an understanding of the functional anatomy involved in the running gait” (Nicola & Jewison, 2012). The coach should have a proficient understanding of the actions of the major skeletal muscle groups involved in sprinting (agonist, antagonist, and synergist at each joint), the coach should also be able to confidently palpate key muscles, detect postural & movement characteristics (normal & abnormal) of the body in the three planes (sagittal, frontal, transverse), identify the time-based, kinematic and kinetic variables in sprinting, perform basic muscle testing, passive range of motion tests, possess the ability to design and implement muscle training program (flexibility, strength, endurance, power) and access the latest biomechanics
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Table 2: Common tight and inhibited muscles in runners (Fredericson & Moore, 2005).
at ground contact. This can result in the summation of a considerable quantity of misused energy depending on the number of errors in the movement. The dysfunction may arise from the core muscles, which must be capable of producing a secure foundation from which to produce accurate movement (Kibler, et al., 2006). Excessive, superfluous movement creates a net reduction in the capacity to resourcefully transmit force. This reduction results in an ineffective technique and diminished speed. Specifically, when the athlete corrects this and applies a propulsion force to the track efficiently in three dimensions from all links in the kinetic chain, a greater horizontal force can drive the sprinter to a higher speed (Ciacci, Di Michele, & Merni, 2010).
Muscle Imbalance Movement of the skeletal system is executed by the muscular system. The motor system controls movement of the kinetic chain through force couples (Magarey, Jones, 2003). A force couple occurs between at least two muscles which can have synergistic or antagonist functions at a joint. If the neural mechanisms coordinate with the muscular components, the correct sprint technique can occur in all links of the kinetic chain. As a result of these mechanisms, sprint coaches should be aware that the quality of technique is governed by the force couples present at a joint between muscles. Muscle imbalance is defined as inequality in the strength of opposing muscles acting on a joint (Key, 2010), (Kendall, McCreary, & Kendall, 1983). This results in faulty alignment, inefficient movements and poor movement stabilization. (Janda, 1996) identified that poor motor control arises from inefficient coordination of a motor program. These defects include altered timing, the degree of activation and load sharing of muscles, and altered concentric and eccentric contractions (Key, 2010). As the human body is a system of multiple joints, balanced activity between all muscles is important in its alignment and control (Key, 2010). Muscle imbalances that generate impaired movement arise among muscles that are predisposed to tension or muscles that are susceptible to inhibition (Fredericson & Moore, 2005). The coach is required to diagnose the muscular imbalance from observing impaired technique to plan suitable movements to repair the motor program at each segment. Dysfunctional motor programs are defined as the suboptimal synchronization of muscle activations arising from timing, sequence and force output (Norris, 1995). The required muscles for optimal performance may be inhibited or may display inadequate length-tension muscle relationships. As a result, synergistic muscles are utilized as compensation (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Dysfunctional technique is therefore reflecting muscle imbalance. Altered motor programs are vitally important for the sprint coach to assess and identify in their athlete. Poor sprint technique or biomechanics leads to unneces-
sary energy seepage in the kinetic chain. This inefficiency in biomechanics can lead to a decrease in propulsion forces and speed. For example, to maximize the propulsive ground reaction force, the sprinter should completely extend the standing hip, knee and ankle during push-off (Hay, 1993). This may not be achieved if there is excessive lateral flexion of the trunk that prevents the lower limb from reaching full extension. The importance of muscle balance in running has been investigated and highlighted by (Fredericson & Moore, 2005) in the article ‘Muscular Balance, Core Stability, and Injury Prevention for Middle and Long Distance Runners’. These authors note muscle imbalance “can lead to less efficient movements, compensatory movement patterns, strain, overuse and injury.” The authors also discuss the importance of muscle balance and core stability for injury prevention and for improving a distance runner’s efficiency and performance. They also list common tight and inhibited muscles in runners that may lead to imbalance and dysfunctional movements. (Table 2)
Neuromuscular Evaluation of the Sprinter If an element of the kinetic chain is impaired, then deficits must be acknowledged and amended. Before sprint specific training commences, it is important to evaluate each body segment in three dimensions for the range of movement, speed, position and muscles activated during the athletes’ technique to construct an accurate exercise program. A methodical assessment of neuromuscular imbalance originates with a standing postural exam, where the coach should note muscle tone (over or under active muscles). Subsequently manual muscle and passive range of motion tests, gait analysis and functional testing (e.g. single leg stance, active straight leg raise, squat) can be undertaken. A guide to musculoskeletal assessment has been constructed by Janine Gray and Rene Naylor who are physiotherapists for the Springbok rugby team (Gray, Naylor, 2009). Recognition of movement imbalance offers the coach to select suitable exercises to correct the origin of the dysfunction. During assessment, the coach should spot general movement impairments, postural deviations, lack of flexibility, asymmetrical posture or movement, and muscle and joint movement ability. The assessment should provide the coach a representation of an athlete’s existing movement impairments and a path for exercise intervention. The remedial exercise suite must endeavour to acquire peak postural configuration (static and dynamic) leading to movement proficiency. The reconfiguration of static and dynamic posture will permit ideal length-tension muscle curves during movement (Hrysomallis & Goodman, 2001).
Posture A meticulous postural examination that assesses all
Table 3: Normal Passive Range of Motion Values for Primary Joints Used in the Sprinter (Hoppenfield, 1987; Magee, 2006; Gross, Fetto, Rosen, 2009)
joints in all three planes is recommended. (frontal, posterior and side). Normal posture includes vertical alignment of the Achilles and calcaneus, the medial malleoli should be equal height bilaterally, the tibia should be straight without any rotation, the patella should not be rotated and should be equal height, the fibula should be equal height, bilaterally, the gluteal folds, pelvis and greater trochanter should be equal height, the posterior view of the vertebrae should be straight without curvature, the scapula should be symmetrical (the same distance from the spine) and should not protrude posteriorly and the shoulders should generally be of equal height (Gross, Fetto, & Rosen, 2009). The feet should demonstrate symmetry in the longitudinal arch, there should not be an increased Q angle (Gross, Fetto, Rosen, 2009). There should not be internally or externally rotated feet. From the side view, there should be approximately 0-5 degrees of knee flexion, the hips should maintain 0 degrees of flexion, the anterior and posterior iliac crests should be aligned, there should be no pelvis rotation or tilt from neutral, there should be normal cervical, thoracic and lumbar curves (posterior & side views) and the ear should be aligned with the acromion process of the shoulder joint. (Gross, Fetto, Rosen, 2009)
Palpation, Manual muscle and Passive range of Motion tests The analysis of the athletes’ muscles’ ought to contain an examination of the hyper and hypo tonic muscles, and changes in muscle length. This can be achieved by undertaking passive range of motion, manual muscle tests and palpation of muscles. (Kendall, McCreary, & Kendall, 1983; Palmer & Epler, 1998). These investigations allied with a detailed postural assessment and cinematic footage of the athlete’s sprint technique (running analysis) will benefit the recognition of movement impairment. The coach must note that muscles that are used habitually can become overactive and shorten (Kendall, McCreary, & Kendall, 1983). Trigger points are the main section of tightness in a muscle. Trigger points are identified through pain or a taut section of the muscle. Trigger
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points are not painful during movement, so the coach must palpate each muscle that is thought to be tight to elicit a painful response from the athlete (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Evidence of a trigger point is important to identify overactive muscles. If a muscle prevails in a motor synergy, its antagonist can be repressed causing disproportion in forces (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Furthermore, if a muscle is out of optimal length arrangement for lengthy phases of time, the muscle will adapt to a dysfunctional length (Hrysomallis & Goodman, 2001). Muscles that endure shortening become overactive; however, this inhibits the antagonist, with inverse length modifications (Kendall, McCreary, & Kendall, 1983). Table 3 presents the normal passive range of motion angles for adults in the lower back and extremities.
Gait Analysis A precise gait examination that assesses all joints in all three planes is recommended. Some aspects for the coach to identify will now be outlined. The coach should observe arm movement at the shoulder and elbow. Asymmetric arm movement could be the outcome or the origin of movement impairment in the technique. (Plastaras, Rittenberg, Rittenberg, Press, & Akuthota, 2005) notes that increased lumbar lordosis may be the cause of taut hip flexors. A flexed trunk posture may also be due to tight hip flexors (Plastaras, Rittenberg, Rittenberg, Press, Akuthota, 2005). Incorrect pelvic tilting or rotation may be recognizable (Trendelenburg sign) (Plastaras, Rittenberg, Rittenberg, Press, Akuthota, 2005). Inadequate knee flexion may occur with quadriceps tightness. Satisfactory pronation permits a reduction of impact forces in the foot. Impaired pronation has been related to overuse running injuries (Hreljac, Marshall, & Hume, 2000).
Functional tests There are a number of functional movement tests in the academic literature to assess movement dysfunction and the
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coach is advised to seek these out for the most valid for sprint performance (e.g. Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, & Bryant, 2010 ; Gray, Naylor, 2009; Hirth, 2007; Brukner & Khan, 2011, Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). One example of a group of tests that will be described here is The Functional Movement Screen, which has been used to quantitatively & qualitatively assess an individualâ€™s overall movement patterns (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010). This test incorporates a muscle imbalance philosophy consistent with this article. The results of this test can be related to postural tests, gait analysis and range of motion measures and manual muscle testing to build a complete understanding of the personâ€™s movement features. This evidence will offer the coach a foundation for corrective exercise interventions.
The Functional Movement Screen The Functional Movement Screen is one assessment instrument that endeavors to evaluate the movement quality in humans. This tool can provide vital insight for injury prevention and for enhancing movements for sport. The Functional 16
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Movement Screen contains seven essential movements that involve optimum neuromusculoskeletal integration. The purpose of the test is to identify compensatory inefficient movement patterns that may prevent the athlete from achieving success in their technique. This inefficiency can lead to degraded performance and an increase of injury occurrence. Once the coach identifies an inefficient movement pattern, a functional exercise plan can be established to escape movement dysfunction (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010). The seven movements of the Functional Movement Screen involve a range of fundamental movements that allow for multifaceted athletic techniques to be achieved proficiently. (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010) includes photos, verbal instructions and thorough scoring rules for each movement. The seven movements are the deep squat, the hurdle step, the in-line lunge, shoulder mobility, the active straight leg raise, the trunk stability push-up and the rotary stability test. The evidence produced from the Functional Movement Screen and from connected assessment of static posture,
neuromuscular imbalances muscle length and strength, and gait analysis will assist the coach to develop a suitable corrective exercise plan. Corrective management of neuromuscular imbalance that has shown success includes stretching of tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and the use of functional movement activities (Janda, 1987). This next section outlines a path for coaches to follow in this effort.
Correcting Muscle Imbalance Once assessment has been conducted, the coach can educate the athlete of the causes and means to correct the poor technique. Athletes should be reminded of the importance of correct posture in sports performance. Once an altered movement pattern is detected, the coach needs to identify the overactive muscles and the weak, inhibited muscles (Sahrmann, 2002). This requires significant understanding of musculoskeletal functional anatomy (e.g. Oatis, 2004). Treatment can require training the athlete to trigger particular muscles and motor patterns (strengthening, endurance, coordination) (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010) or specific soft tissue management (stretching). Isolated muscle activation for fundamental movements of the sprint, should be proficient before sprint specific speed training, which aims to integrate all of the muscles (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). If this is not achieved, the motor control program will find an inefficient technique as a result of dysfunction arising in the kinetic series. This has been referred to as the ‘path of least resistance’ (Sahrmann, 2002). The coach must also consider stretching and relaxing overactive muscles. Reciprocal innervation causes overactive muscles to inhibit antagonist muscles (Sherrington, 1909). Therefore, it is practical to stretch the stiffened muscles prior to strengthening the underactive muscles (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Increasing the range of motion and flexibility of the tight muscle will optimize length-tension relationship in the muscle (Hrysomallis & Goodman, 2001). Furthermore, stretching the overactive muscle prevents inhibition of its antagonist and will maximize strength training of that muscle (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). Stretching enables the correct order of muscle activation, timing and force to reestablish optimal sprint biomechanics (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010). If sufficient training and feedback of the correct motor pattern occurs, the technique will be established as a habitual choice by the motor system. (Page, Frank, & Lardner, 2010) suggest sensorimotor retraining should become increasingly more difficult and progress through three stages: static, dynamic and functional. (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010) provide a comprehensive exercise program for correcting dysfunctional movement in their book.
Conclusion In summary, this article has described a method for coaches to identify and correct suboptimal sprint biomechanics to enhance athletic performance and prevent injury. This article advocates that sprint coaches remain up to date with the latest research in biomechanics to enhance their athletes’ performance through customized exercise programs. The kinetic chain concept was outlined to provide a foundation to introduce how muscle imbalances within fundamentals move-
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ments need to be corrected before an athlete can progress to complex sprinting exercises. The underlying mechanisms of muscle imbalance were discussed and how they contribute to dysfunctional movement. The methodical assessment of neuromuscular imbalance should include a standing postural exam, manual muscle & passive range of motion tests, gait analysis and functional testing (e.g. single leg stance, active straight leg raise, squat). This article also recognized the important work by (Cook, Burton, Kiesel, Rose, Bryant, 2010) that have developed the functional movement screen to identify and correct movement impairment. Finally a description, rationale and citation of reference exercises were provided for the reader, which aim to achieve a correct movement pattern for sprinting. With these procedures followed, the coach can be confident they are on the verge of utilizing the full potential an athlete has to offer.
References Anderson, T. (1996). Biomechanics and Running Economy. Sports Medicine, 22(2), 76-89. Brown, & Ferrigno, V. (2005). Training for Speed, Agility, and Quickness: Human Kinetics. Brown, & Vescovi, J. D. (2012). Maximum Speed: Misconceptions of Sprinting. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 34(2), 37-41 10.1519/SSC.1510b1013e31824ea31156. Brukner, P., & Khan, K. (2011). Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine: McGraw-Hill, Incorporated. Bushnell, T., & Hunter, I. (2007). Differences in technique between sprinters and distance runners at equal and maximal speeds. Sports Biomechanics, 6(3), 261-268. doi: 10.1080/14763140701489728 Ciacci, S., Di Michele, R., & Merni, F. (2010). Kinematic analysis of the braking and propulsion phases during the support time in sprint running. Gait & Posture, 31(2), 209-212. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.10.007 Cissik, J. (2007). Technique and Speed Development for Running. The Optimal Athlete. Cook, G., Burton, L., Kiesel, K., Rose, G., & Bryant, M. F. (2010). Movement: Functional Movement Systems: Screening, Assessment and Corrective Strategies: On Target Publications. de Villarreal, E. S., Requena, B., & Cronin, J. B. (2012). The Effects of Plyometric Training on Sprint Performance: A MetaAnalysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(2), 575-584 510.1519/JSC.1510b1013e318220fd318203. Dugan, S. A., & Bhat, K. P. (2005). Biomechanics and Analysis of Running Gait. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16(3), 603-621. Fredericson, M., & Moore, T. (2005). Muscular Balance, Core Stability, and Injury Prevention for Middle- and Long-Distance Runners. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16(3), 669-689. Gray, J, Naylor, R. (2009) Musculoskeletal Assessment Form. Boksmart. Gross, J., Fetto, J., & Rosen, E. (2009). Musculoskeletal Examination: Wiley. Hay, J. G. (1993). The biomechanics of sports techniques: Prentice-Hall. Hirth, C. (2007) Clinical movement analysis to identify muscle imbalances and guide exercise. Athletic Therapy Today. 12,
(4), 10–14. Hoppenfeld, S. (1987) Physical Examination of the Spine and the Extremities. Prentice Hall, London Hreljac, A., Marshall, R. N., & Hume, P. A. (2000). Evaluation of lower extremity overuse injury potential in runners. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(9), 1635-1641. Hrysomallis, C., & Goodman, C. (2001). A Review of Resistance Exercise and Posture Realignment. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 15(3), 385-390. Hunter, J.P., Marshall, R.N., McNair, P., (2005). Relationships between ground reaction force impulse and kinematics of sprint-running acceleration. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 21 (1), 31–43. Janda, V. (1987). Muscles and motor control in low back pain: assessment and management. In: Twomey, L. (Ed.), Physical Therapy of the Low Back. Churchill Livingstone, New York. Janda. (1996). Evaluation of muscle imbalance In Liebenson (Ed.), Rehabilitation of the Spine. Jones, R., Bezodis, I., & Thompson, A. (2009). Coaching Sprinting: Expert Coaches’ Perception of Race Phases and Technical Constructs. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 4(3), 385-396. doi: 10.1260/174795409789623964 Kendall, F. P., McCreary, E. K., & Kendall, H. O. (1983). Muscles, testing and function: Williams & Wilkins. Key, J. (2010). Back Pain - A Movement Problem: A Clinical Approach Incorporating Relevant Research and Practice: Elsevier Health Sciences UK. Kibler, W. B., Press, J., & Sciascia, A. (2006). The Role of Core Stability in Athletic Function. Sports Medicine, 36(3), 189-198. Kibler, W. B., & Sciascia, A. (2004). Kinetic chain contributions to elbow function and dysfunction in sports. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 23(4), 545-552. Magarey, M.E., Jones, M.A. (2003) Dynamic evaluation and early management of altered motor control around the shoulder complex. Manual Therapy, 8 (4), pp. 195-206 Magee (2006) Orthopedic Physical Assessment. WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA. Mero, A., Komi, P. V., & Gregor, R. J. (1992). Biomechanics of sprint running. A review. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 13(6), 376-392.
Nicola, T. L, Jewison, D. J. (2012) The Anatomy and Biomechanics of Running. Clinics in sports medicine, 31, (2), 187-201. Norris, C. M. (1995). Spinal Stabilisation: 4. Muscle Imbalance and the Low Back. Physiotherapy, 81(3), 127-138. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9406(05)67068-x Novacheck, T. F. (1998). The biomechanics of running. Gait & Posture, 7(1), 77-95. doi: 10.1016/s0966-6362(97)00038-6 Oatis, C. A. (2004). Kinesiology: The Mechanics and Pathomechanics of Human Movement: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Page, P., Frank, C. C., & Lardner, R. (2010). Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach: Human Kinetics. Palmer, L., & Epler, M. (1998). Fundamentals of Musculoskeletal Assessment Techniques: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Plastaras, C. T., Rittenberg, J. D., Rittenberg, K. E., Press, J., & Akuthota, V. (2005). Comprehensive Functional Evaluation of the Injured Runner. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16(3), 623-649. Sahrmann, S. (2002). Diagnosis and treatment of movement impairment syndromes: Mosby. Sciascia, & Cromwell. (2012). Kinetic Chain Rehabilitation: A Theoretical Framework. Rehabilitation Research and Practice, 2012, 9. doi: 10.1155/2012/853037 Sherrington, C. S. (1909). Reciprocal Innervation of Antagonistic Muscles. Fourteenth Note.-On Double Reciprocal Innervation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character, 81(548), 249268. doi: 10.1098/rspb.1909.0022 University Of Tasmania (2012) Generic attributes. The Learning & Teaching Environment at UTAS. Retrieved from http://www.learningsupport.utas.edu.au/generic_attributes.html Matthew Gildersleeve is an accredited Exercise Scientist who lives in Queensland, Australia. He conducts research and teaches at Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland. He also acts as a consultant for the Marist Brothers Ashgrove Athletics Team.
The Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of the Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor are: Sam Seemes, Mike Corn, Sylvia Kamp and Mason Cathey 1100 Poydras Street Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163. Techniques is owned by USTFCCA, 1100 Poydras Street Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163. The Average Number of Copies of Each Issue During the Preceding 12 Months: (A) Total Number of Copies (Net press run): 7,894 (B3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 0 (B1) Paid Circulation through Mailed Subscriptions: 7,716 (C) Total Paid Distribution: 7,716 (D4) Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 0 (E) Total Free Distribution: 0 (F) Total Distribution: 7,716 (G) Copies not Distributed: 178 (H) Total: 7,784 (I) Percent Paid: 100% The Number of Copies of a Single Issue Published Nearest to the Filing Date: (A) Total Number of Copies (Net press run): 9,359 (B3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 0 (B1) Paid Circulation through Mailed Subscriptions: 9,094 (C) Total Paid Distribution: 9,094 (D4) Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 0 (E) Total Free Distribution: 0 (F) Total Distribution: 9,094 (G) Copies not Distributed: 265 (H) Total: 9,359 (I) Percent Paid: 100% Signed, Mike Corn STATEMENT REQUIRED BY TITLE 39 U.S.C. 3685 SHOWING OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION OF TECHNIQUES, Publication #433, Published Quarterly at 1100 Poydras Street Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163. The business office of the publisher is 1100 Poydras Street Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163.
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Endurance Training Using the Six Minute Time Trial as the Foundation for Endurance Training
by bryan jilka, B.S.ed 22
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few years ago I began searching for a simple test I could use to assess the current running ability of all my distance runners (800 – 5000 meters) and use the results to establish personalized training paces. The relative accuracy of the results was important to me; however it was also important that the test be easy to use throughout the season and that my athletes would be motivated by the results. So after hours of research, I came across a book written by Dr. Owen Anderson (Anderson, 2006) called Lactate Lift-Off. Through this research, and specifically Lactate Lift-Off, I found great details on how to utilize field-testing methods (vs. a lab setting) to assess an athlete’s ability and then create workouts that lead to improved running economy. Based upon this research, the test I have incorporated into my training philosophy is the six-minute time trial. From an individual time trial result, I can determine a runner’s vVO2max (velocity at VO2max) and establish reliable training paces that: 1) allow me to create training plans and workouts that adhere to the well established Principles of Training, and 2) stimulate the body’s energy and neuromuscular systems to maximize training – and therefore improve running economy.
Running Economy Dr. Jack Daniels defined running economy as the oxygen required for an individual to maintain any particular submaximum pace (Daniels, 1974). Furthermore, Dr. Owen Anderson describes this phenomenon as the running velocity at lactate threshold, or RVLT. “We call this a threshold because any speed above RVLT produces a significant build-up in blood lactate (Anderson, 2006). This simply means, “A runner with good movement economy consumes less oxygen at a given running speed. For example, given two runners with identical VO2max figures, the runner who can race at a faster pace (exerting greater force) while processing the same amount of oxygen will ultimately win” (Stevenson, 2008). There are two components of running economy that ultimately influence an athlete’s running velocity over given distance; stride length and stride frequency. Stride length is the natural way in which a runner increases running economy but is limited by biomechanical factors such as limb length and body weight distributions (Williams, 1985). Further, athletes tend to choose the stride length at which they are most economical at increasing speed for a given race distance. Stride frequency, though less efficient at improving running economy, is the variable athletes and coaches have the most control over. So, to influence an athlete’s stride frequency, and thus improve running economy, a coach designs training programs and workouts that stimulate the appropriate energy systems to bring about the necessary physiological adaptations that increase distance running performance allowing the athlete to run faster from point A to point B.
Energy Systems and Running Economy The human body has three energy systems and corresponding muscle fiber types for the production of energy (ATPAdenosine Triphosphate) to power athletic performance. The fuel required to power these systems begins with the foods we eat in the form of carbohydrates/glucose (preferred energy source), fats/lipid (abundant energy source), and protein (mainly used to build and repair muscle) to supply the required energy (ATP) to produce muscle contraction and thus human locomotion. In distance races such as the 800 meters or in seg-
ments of races such as the last 200 meters of a 5K, energy must be supplied at a very rapid rate. Conversely, energy may need to be produced at a consistent, slow and steady rate when running a half to full marathon race. These examples demonstrate that intensity and duration of a race determine the primary energy system utilized. However, regardless of the race distance, all three systems must be highly trained in order to set that new personal record at the finish line.
The Igniter The Phosphagen or ATP-CP energy system serves as an immediate supplier of energy (ATP) used to produce muscle contraction for short-term, very high intensity events lasting for 5 to 8 seconds. An example would be sprint events from 40 to100 meters. The term Anaerobic is often used to describe this system because no oxygen is used to produce ATP for muscle contraction; and all the chemical processes involved are stored directly at the muscle’s contractile units or cytosol. In addition, Type II or fast twitch muscle fibers contain higher concentrations of creatine phosphate (CP) than Type I slow twitch fibers (Cramer, 2008). The phosphagen system is active at the beginning of all exercise, is the primary energy system for very high intensity, short term events like the first 60 meters in the 100 meter dash, and its chemical byproducts stimulate the Glycolytic energy system.
The Glucose Fire The phosphagen system provides the spark for high intensity running, but the glycolytic energy system, or glycolysis, is the chemical fire that uses lactate, blood glucose, muscle & liver glycogen from carbohydrate metabolism to maintain ATP production to power both short term, intense anaerobic efforts and longer sustained aerobic running. The anaerobic component produces energy for events lasting 30 seconds or about 200 300 meters. Like the phosphagen system, glycolysis favors the use fast twitch type II muscle fibers, the site of ATP production being in the cytosol with the end products being pyruvate and lactate. This lactate formation is has been called many things: lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, and lactate turn-point. Regardless of its moniker, studies have shown that lactate can be “recycled” to produce further energy lasting from 60 to 90 seconds (Cramer, 2008).
Burn Baby Burn Beyond three minutes, as running velocity begins to slow, muscle cells can now utilize energy supplied by the Oxidative System. In the presence of oxygen, pyruvate is converted to a new chemical called acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl CoA) and enters the Krebs-Cycle where muscles tap into stored glycogen. If effectively trained, the combination of blood glucose (15g), muscle glycogen (500g) and liver glycogen (110g) can be very efficient in producing energy (2,500cal.) for moderately hard running, for up to two hours. Furthermore, the “burning” of carbohydrate or glucose creates a metabolic fire that stimulates the breakdown of lipid (fat). Fat stored in the body in the form of adipose tissue (7,800g) or intramuscular (161g) is capable of providing a large portion of energy (74,833cal.) for prolonged exercise at lower intensities (Kenney, Wilmore, & Costill, 2012). This benefits the distance runner because, through endurance training, muscles become more efficient at using fat fuel sources and sparing vital glycogen stores. The following table summarizes the relationship between running intensity and energy system contribution. november 2012
Principles of Training
Research put to Practice
Science has proven that consistent training over time will bring about positive metabolic adaptations allowing for the efficient production of ATP and improved running economy. However, theories and methodologies are only as valuable as their ability to be put into practice. The Principles of Training serve as a guide that, if followed, will lead to improved running performance with reduced chance of injury (Kenney, Wilmore, & Costill, 2012). Individuality – All runners are different in genetic makeup and ability, so each will respond or adapt differently to various bouts of training. Therefore, a training program or workout session must take into account the specific needs and abilities if the individual athlete. Some runners can handle high mileage while others respond to lower volume training sessions. Specificity – Energy systems and associated muscle fiber types will adapt to the specific type of training applied. The phosphagen & glycolytic systems will not respond favorably to long slow training nor will the oxidative system respond to speed training. Progressive Overload – Gradually increasing the training load over time or phases to bring about a greater level or running fitness. This could include increasing the number of training sessions per day or week, increasing the distance or volume of runs, or increasing the running pace. Variation – The systematic changing of one or more training variables over the course of a training program. Intensity and volume of training are the most commonly manipulated variables that produce gains in running performance. Reversibility – If the volume and/or intensity of training is reduced or stopped, any gains in fitness or performance will return to a pre-training state.
The distance coaches of today have a wealth of information to draw upon when designing a systematic training program to improve an athlete’s running economy for racing success; such as, training based upon percent heart rate maximum, and percentage of VO2max or lactate threshold. Unfortunately, these methods can be unreliable (heart rate) or are expensive and location sensitive (Vo2max/lactate threshold) and the idea of testing an entire team is simply out of the question for most. So, what are the realistic tools available for a coach to design a training program that will accurately assess running ability for the implementation of workouts that will improve running economy or RVLT – Running Velocity at Lactate Threshold? Research carried out by Dr. Veronique Billat at the University of Lille in France on the benefits of vVO2max (the minimal running velocity which elicits VO2max) training for the improvement of RVLT would be a solid foundation for any running program. Billat was able to demonstrate that one of the best ways to increase RVLT or running economy is to train at vVO2max on a regular basis. In one study, a group of experienced middle to long distance runners (1500 meters to ½ marathon), mean age of 24, and average VO2max of 71.2 ml/kg-1/min-1, participated in a four week training program which included one interval session at vVO2max each week (Veronique L. Billat, 1999). At the end of the four-week training period, almost all of the key physiological variables associated with performance had improved. • vVO2max was up by 3 percent - from 20.5 km/hr to 21.1 km/h equal to a drop from 4:43 mile to a 4:34 mile. • Running economy improved by 6 percent • Heart Rates at typical training speed dipped by 4 percent. • RVLT increase by about 3 percent
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endurance training This is fortunate news to a high school distance coach or self-trained weekend warrior because estimating your vVO2max is a relatively easy thing to do. “Simply stroll down to your neighborhood track (or some other measured running route), warm up thoroughly, and then run as far as you can in six minutes” (Anderson, 2006). And, this will fulfill the first Principle of Training – Individuality. From that result, velocity is calculated in meters per second and converted to a time per 400 meters: the final result is an individual athlete’s running pace at vVO2max (Anderson, 2006). However, one cannot train at vVO2max alone and doing so could lead to overtraining, monotony, or injury. And, current research suggests that training at a variety of paces is great for improving RVLT. “Training at 10-K race pace, 8-K tempo, 5-K speed, 3-K alacrity, one-mile intensity, 800-meter quickness, and at maximal velocity will be beneficial” (Anderson, 2006). Now, based upon the phase of training or race(s) for which you are competing, workouts can be crafted to target specific the energy system(s) fulfilling the second Principle of Training – Specificity. The question is: How much do you increase or decrease pace for effective workouts? The solution to this problem can be solved by applying Horwill’s Law to an athlete’s six-minute time trial result. The research done by the outstanding British running coach, Frank Horwill, demonstrated that race pace diminishes by about four seconds per 400 meters whenever your race distance doubles. Example: 1600 meters in 6 minutes = 90 second vVO2max pace, 3200 meter pace = 94 second per 400 and so on (Anderson, 2006). Below is an example of the pace chart I developed based upon the result of a six-minute time trial and Horwill’s Law. Within each zone, the pace increases or decreases by about four seconds per 400 meters, moving to the next zone starting on the fifth second. In addition, paces are calculated from 50 to 3200 meters, providing an infinite number
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of workout combinations to stimulate each energy system, prevent monotony and staleness in training – satisfying the fourth Principle of Training – Variation. The third Principle of Training – Progressive Overload, is where the “Art of Coaching” is expressed in the way volume and intensity of training bouts are doled out in various quantities over time to produce positive athletic performance results. Progression involves setting up a training plan into meso-cycles or phases which have specific objectives. Tudor O. Bompa (Bompa, 1983) defined this as periodization.
The Preparatory Phase • General Preparation Phase – 6 to 12 weeks. • Specific Preparation Phase – 6 to 12 weeks.
The Competitive Phase • The Pre-Competitive phase – 6 to 8 weeks. • The Phase of Main Competitions – 6 to 8 weeks. The length of each Period or Phase also depends upon the level of competition and the length of the competitive seasons (high school vs. college). Within these larger phases, training is further broken down into weeks or micro-cycles that specifically address the training objectives through individual workout sessions. The objective of each individual workout session is to increase the functional capacity of one or more of an athlete’s biomotor abilities: Strength (phosphagen & glycolytic systems), Endurance (glycolytic & oxidative systems), Speed (phosphagen & glycolytic systems), Coordination (neuromuscular system), and Flexibility (connective tissues & neuromuscular systems) (Bompa, 1983). The Overload component to each individual training session produces positive adaptations to the biomotor abilities and/or energy systems by one of three ways: 1) Building – increasing training volume or intensity; 2) Stabilizing – keeping the same volume or intensity; or 3) Recovery – reducing the volume and/
or intensity of training (Reversibility – if training is kept low for an extended period of time). An effective training plan should include at least one workout per week that targets each biomotor ability or specific energy system. However, the specific phase determines which system(s) are “prioritized” during training. Example: Early phases – weight training mixed with striders complementing the aerobic base & over-distance runs. Later phases – Faster running dominates training sessions with fewer long, slow efforts. Moreover, age is a major factor in the type and duration of training. Below is an example of periodization for a high school distance runner.
Economy Training Period – Two Phases • Build Aerobic Endurance: 6 to 8 weeks. Over-distance runs are the key workout each week – add 10 to 15 minutes to the average daily aerobic run. Objective(s): Increase the ability to sustain physical training while reducing the risk of overuse injuries. 1. Endurance: aerobic base – v1.0 builds the foundation for running fitness; include some steady state – v1.1 and tempo – v2.0 training depending upon training age. vVO2max – v3.0 hill training can be included starting in the 5th week. 2. Strength: general core strength; circuit training. 3. Speed: 50 to 100 meter striders starting the 3rd week of training transitioning to some anaerobic power – v3.1 short repeats toward the end of this phase. 4. Coordination: running drills and lifting technique 5. Flexibility: dynamic exercises mixed with static stretching – more valuable placed after the main workout.
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• Build Aerobic Capacity: 4 to 6 weeks. Three quality workouts per week which may include some racing toward the end of the phase. Objective(s): Increase the stress placed upon the cardiovascular system by continuing the long run while adding some intensity to training. 1. Endurance: aerobic base – v1.0 continues; combine some tempo – v2.0 pacing into the over-distance run. Alternate weeks of interval – v2.1 with vVO2max – v3.0 long, medium or short hill repeats. 2. Strength: circuit training; basic plyometrics exercises; general core strength. 3. Speed: alternate weeks of anaerobic power – v3.1 short to medium repeats with non-pace specific sprint training. 4. Coordination: running drills and lifting technique 5. Flexibility: dynamic exercises mixed with static stretching – more valuable placed after the main workout.
RVLT Training Period – Two Phases • Specific Aerobic Power: 4 to 6 weeks. Two to three quality workouts per week that may include an important mid-season race with reductions in total volume of training. Objective(s): Increase the density of training by grouping workouts in sets and progressively reducing the rest interval within a given workout session. 1. Endurance: alternate weeks of longer interval – v2.1 sessions with sets of intense vVO2max – v3.0 training. Aerobic base – v1.0 runs mimic those in the first phase with an over-distance session every other week. 2. Strength: one short quality session only, continue with basic core exercises.
3. Speed: alternate weeks of anaerobic power – v3.1 longer repeats, non-pace specific sprint training or combine with endurance training protocols for a very challenging session. 4. Coordination: running drills 5. Flexibility: dynamic exercises mixed with static stretching – more valuable placed after the main workout. • Anaerobic Power/Taper Phase: 3 to 5 weeks. “The Hay is in the Barn”. The focus is on quality races and training serves to keep the mind and body sharp. Objective(s): Workouts are focused and race specific while increasing the number of rest days between training sessions or races. 1. Endurance: aerobic base – v1.0 running is for recovery and over-distance runs are a thing of the past. Alternate weekly quality vVO2max – v3.0 sessions with some smooth tempo – v2.0 sessions. 2. Strength: general core strength. 3. Speed: anaerobic power – v3.1 short to medium length repeats of low volume and sufficient rest. 4. Coordination: running drills. 5. Flexibility: dynamic exercises mixed with static stretching – more valuable placed after the main workout. Recovery weeks: reduce training intensity and volume slightly for five to seven days every four to five weeks during each phase.
A Training Year in Review The following information is based upon our 2011 cross country and 2012 Track & Field season. We started cross country training on June 20th, 2011 and finished with three male runners qualifying for our section finals on November 12th. During the cross country season, the team members performed all quality sessions on a 2.5 mile path/trail marked every 200 meters at their personal six-minute time trial paces. Over these 32
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21 weeks, 15 vVO2max training sessions were scheduled. ***Please note: all six-minute time trial testing took place on a 400 meter decomposed granite track with the results measured using a Keson metric wheel. Individual testing distances have been rounded to the nearest 10 meters. Only rounding up if the runner achieved six meters or above. This usually assured that I got that extra little kick out of them as they did not want their distance to be rounded down!*** The six minute time trial results were interesting given the small sample sizes. Younger runners improved to a greater extent than older runners, which is to be expected as they have a greater range for improvement. And the older, more experienced runners improved within .04% of the results Billat demonstrated in her 1999 study. The left side of the above chart represents the teams progression of the six-minute time trial assessment while the last two columns shows race to race performance on the same cross country course under similar conditions, and within a six week time period. The sixteen runners who competed in the mid-season Invitational and our Sub Section races at the same distance improved by an average of 82.13 seconds. Runners who participated in track and field began running on their own Dec. 4 with our training plan beginning on Jan. 3. Two to three quality training sessions were scheduled per week with 18 to 20 workouts (depending upon length of season) performed at vVO2max or faster. All training took place on a 400 meter track of decomposed granite and runners trained at their personal six-minute time trial paces with exception of No. 11 and No. 10 as I felt their time trial data did not accurately reflect their ability. I contribute this to the fact that #11 was a junior, new to our program compared to the other runners of his ability who have been training under this system for three to four years. No. 10 was taller with more body weight (muscle),
and just never tested well compared to his ability. Instead, these two runners trained at a six-minute time trial pace reflective of race performances equal to that of their teammates. Our year ended May 25th with two runners qualifying for the Division 1 Championships and one runner qualifying for the Masters Championships.
Notes & Analysis Thirteen cross country runners participated in the 2012 track & field season and over the 21 to 24 week training plan improved their RVLT by an average of 3.31 percent (3 percent, Billat). This
data did not include numbers 10 and 11further reducing the sample size. However, runner 14 improved his RVLT by 3.13 percent and set career best performances in all three racing distance (800, 1600, & 3200 meters). Another interesting result contained in this data is that our fastest 800 meter runner (No. 10) who trained at a coach projected six-minute time trial paces, ended his season by dropping 45 seconds off of his previous season mile time achieving that six-minute time trial standard.
Conclusion and Practical Application I have used the six minute time trial assessment tool november 2012
for the past four cross country and track and field seasons with my distance runners. I know there are numerous methods for evaluating running ability or determining training paces but the six minute time trial method has been an invaluable tool for my program in many ways. As a physiologist, the research from Billat and Anderson demonstrated that field testing methods can produce a reliable marker of “lactate threshold” or even more concrete and accessible to all coaches and runners, vVO2max. For me though, it was important to go a step further and combine the six-minute time trial with the application of Horwill’s Law – and combining those two sources of knowledge was the basis for creating a training pace system to develop workouts that target specific energy systems by systematically training “at your RVLT”, “slower than your RVLT”, and faster than your RVLT”, to increase running economy and race performance. From a team building standpoint, the test has created a life of its own as our runners take pride in competing to have the best test at each grade level and as an attempt to gain a psychological advantage they named it – “six minutes of ecstasy”. As a coach, having the pace chart as a big poster on my wall gives me the freedom to say… “HEY! (they are not usually listening to me) we are doing mile repeats at interval – v2.1 pace today, find your time!” As a teacher and parent, the final improvement over six minutes at the end of a hard season regardless of race results is a big self-esteem booster! Finally, I know you don’t have a giant training pace chart poster on your wall but you can access the exact six-minute time trial training pace system at trainsweet.com. This completely integrated training program system give coaches the ability (without cost) to create training plans, build workouts, 34
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personally connect with each athlete via personal training logs and roster management tools to help streamline the implementation of the Principles of Training.
refrences Anderson, O. (2006). Lactate Lift-off. Lansing: SSS Publishing. Bompa, T. O. (1983). Theory and Methodology of Training The Key to Athletic Performance. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt . Cramer, J. T. (2008). Bioenergetics of Exercise and Training. In T. R. Earle, Essentials of Strength and Conditioning (pp. 24-28). Champaign: Human Kinetics. Daniels, J. (1974). Physiological characteristics of champion male athletes. Research Quarterly, 45 , 342-348. Kenney, W. L., Wilmore, J. H., & Costill, D. L. (2012). Principles of Exercise Training. In P. W. Larry Kenney, J. H. PhD, & D. L. PhD, Physiology of Sport and Exercise Fith Edition (pp. 210-213). Champaign: Human Kinetics. Stevenson, R. (2008). Running with Style - Part 1: Impoving Technique for Better Running Efficiency. Running and Research News, Vol. 24, Issue 10 , 2. Veronique L. Billat, B. B.-P. (1999). Interval Training at VO2max: Effects on Aerobic Performance and Overtraining Markers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Vol. 31 , 156-163. Williams, K. (1985). The Relationship beteen mecahnical and physiological energy estimates. Medicine in Science in Sports and Exercise 17 , 317-325. Bryan Jilka is the Head Coach at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, Cali. Prior to his arrival in California, Jilka served as a Graduate Assistant Coach at the University of Kansas.
Through their ongoing support of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Associaton, these companies demonstrate their strong commitment to the sports of Track & Field and Cross Country. 36
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SUPPORTERS www.ucsspirit.com www.mfathletic.com
The USTFCCCA strongly encourages each member to purchase products and services from these supporters. november 2012
perceptive intelligence making sense of field events
by todd linder, patrick barragan and peter mcnaughton 38
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he technical complexities of a jump or a throw presents field event coaches with unique challenges. If position, speed and force application are not synchronized, an athlete will perform poorly. The coach’s job is to help the athlete succeed, and this begins with a strong working relationship between coach and athlete. This relationship can be achieved through mutual respect, communication and clearly defined expectations and goals. This article tries to identify and clarify what a coach and athlete can do to enhance their working relationship during practice. The focus is on strategies that enhance the athlete’s ability to “feel” the movement in order to master it, which is referred to as perceptive intelligence. We have often wondered if we could coach efficiently without our five senses, particularly sight and hearing with both being so crucial to how we evaluate athletes on the field. For a coach, only two senses seem critical: sight and hearing. An athlete, on the other hand, will deal with hundreds of sensory perceptions during their event. An athlete’s perceptive intelligence can have an immense impact on the outcome of a performance.
patrick barrag an PHOTO
Communication and Technical Execution Recently we were able to observe the hammer practice of 2011 USA hammer champ Jessica Cosby with her coach, Art Venegas, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. During this practice session, we soon realized that coach Venegas’s style of coaching and communicating with Cosby had a distinct form, employing cues and words that were clearly understood by both and which made the practice fluid and effective. We began considering how other coaches use different words to describe the same movement or action. For instance, we may tell a discus thrower at the release to think about “being long” with the discus arm, whereas another coach might ask him “to reach,” describing the same position. In the long jump, one coach may describe the last two steps as “flat – flat,” another may say “settle – pop,” and others may use something totally different. The apparently trivial differences might be important. Coaches need to consider the words they use to influence form and technique. Does it really matter if we use the word “fall” to describe the lowering of the body at the 270˚ position of a hammer turn, or should we use the word “sit” to refer to the same movement? Are the words used to describe the desired change inconsequential, or are they important? We argue that they matter to the degree that they enhance the athlete’s perceptive intelligence. Both “fall” and “sit” essentially describe the same position, but “fall” describes a feeling needed to execute proper form in the turns. Thinking about “falling” stimulates the senses in certain ways. “Sitting,” on the other hand, is a movement that commands few sensory feelings. A person can sit in a chair or sit down, but besides the lowering of the body, it is a simple action. When coaching, your goal is to teach your athlete to perform the event technically, and sometimes the coaching cues used should relate to their sensory perceptions. Whenever possible, you need to ask your athlete to describe the movement or the feeling as they throw or jump. Consider this scenario: During high jump practice, one of your high jumpers is working on over-the-bar mechanics. At the apex of the jump they tend to drop their hips, hitting the bar. As the coach, you see the chin moving to the chest, which causes the hips to drop as a natural action/reaction. You instruct the athlete to keep their head back or at least neutral, but after a few attempts they are still unable to make the correction. What next? One suggestion is to ask the athlete what they feel going on over the bar. After listening and considering their explanation, you can try to describe the movement in a different way. We would relate the movement to a sensory perception, since specific movements need to be felt before they can be controlled. We would ask them to relax their core in the air. By relaxing the core in the air, the body should rotate over the bar and prevent the hips from dropping. november 2012
perceptive intelligence and athletes. The jumps all have an approach run with a distinct rhythm. The triple jump with its three jumping phases can easily be distinguished. In the pole vault, listen for the takeoff in relation to the sounds of the pole striking the box. The penultimate step in the high jump can easily be detected from a dragging or inactive foot.
patrick barragan PHOTO
Efficient technical practices
Points to remember • For an athlete to learn form and technique, he or she must feel it before achieving consistency in replicating it. • Use coaching cues that an athlete can relate to, and are linked to sensory perception whenever possible. • Communicate with your athlete and make sure your coaching cues are understood as you intended. • Always get feedback from your athlete; have them describe what they feel.
Rhythm Rhythm can be understood as a series of movements marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements or conditions. As field event coaches, we try to find rhythmic patterns in every event. Consider the rhythm of the triple jump, and the sound the foot strike makes during each phase of the jump. In evaluating different field events, try to focus on their distinct rhythms. We have found that developing rhythm is very important and should be made a priority. For instance, in the hammer and weight throw, athletes should learn to recognize the sound of the foot striking the ground during each turn, and the increased rhythm until release. The shot put spine builds from a long to short rhythm as the thrower turns out of the back, and the foot quickly strikes when landing to throw. The javelin follows the run and transition to crossovers rhythm, and concludes with a planting leg and release sound. The sounds of each event can be valuable guides for coaches 40
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In coaching field events, technical sessions demand the most time. It is necessary then to make effective use of your time, sharpening communication between coach and athlete. A practice session should have a clearly communicated goal and focus. Comments related to that specific goal should be clearly communicated to the athlete throughout the session. It could be helpful during the session to have the athlete tell you what technical issue he/she is working on before they proceed with an attempt. Having technical goals at practice will keep your athlete on track. One form of incorrect coaching is to try to correct every flaw at once, offering too much information for the athlete to process. An athlete should be asked to think about one item at a time, or, for advanced athletes, maybe two. If the stated goal is to have your long jumper drive out of the back in a long jump approach in order to gain consistency, this should be the primary technical focal point of practice and thus the focal point of the feedback. Move on to the next focal point of practice only after they have repeatedly performed the skill correctly. Before moving on, have the athlete verbalize what he or she thought of the performance, and how it felt for them. Providing immediate feedback during practice as the athlete jumps or throws is important, however asking your athlete to make a correction immediately is usually counterproductive. They will typically need to simulate the form before their next attempt, on their own, away from the intimidating eyes of the coach. In other words, give them time to feel what you want them to do. Teaching technique can be approached in different ways. Do you teach the whole movement or break it into specific sections? Many throws coaches teach form in reverse, from the release of the implement back to the beginning. They will do release drills, like standing throws, first, then move to partial movement drills, and finally to whole movements. A jumps coach may do jumping drills first, adding some speed later, and end with full approach jumps. A new trend among top coaches is to start with the full movement, and then move to drilling partial movements. Try starting a practice off with full approach jumps and full throws, and then, at the end of practice, move into drills. This approach can be very effective and useful, since it changes the training stimulus for the athlete, which is needed from time to time. For example, in a triple jump practice, start off with full approach jumps in the pit with spikes. After several jumps, you will have a better idea of what technical form issues you have to correct, and prescribe drills as needed.
Differences between Practice and Competition Competition is not the appropriate place for an athlete to work on new skills or make technical changes. Focusing on one’s feelings can be a powerful tool, for the reasons stated above, but not if it detracts from an athlete executing an imperfect but proficient motion during competition. Then, the appropriate strategy may be to aim for the athlete’s best at the moment rather than continue to push new improvements.
perceptive intelligence In competition, the cues and thoughts that the coach and athlete have developed through thoughtful practices are now crucially important. The athlete may be more successful focusing on thoughts or feelings that have produced the desired results in the past. In this way, the athlete can rely somewhat on stimulating muscle memory and simply executing rather than attempting to rethink the technique from the beginning. Athletes who tend to become overloaded mentally often find simplifying what they must do to a previous cue or feeling much easier to handle. This does not mean that the athlete cannot make any corrections during a meet. Instead the corrections should remind the athlete of a technique or skill they have tried during practice. For example, warming up before competing, a jumper may have a wildly varying step relative to the board. Competitive pressure is distracting the athlete from the run, which has been the focus of practice for the last week. At this point, the coach may remind the athlete to be sure to push hard out of the back and continue to accelerate through the board. Cues should be the same as those used in practice, when the coach may have followed up the cues with further explanation or drills.
How video technology can aid performance Field events in general are complex movements executed with speed and force. They happen very fast and even though coaches are trained to be very perceptive, we cannot see or hear everything. Video analysis is an excellent teaching tool for the coach and the athlete; it offers feedback about the athlete’s performance so both can see where there is an opportunity for improvement. Only a video of the throw or jump can help you to analyze the
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entire movement, and the equipment available today allows for immediate feedback. It’s recommended that the task of operating the camera be assigned to someone other than the coach so that they are free to observe the athlete in action. High-speed cameras are affordable (from $250) and record at the standard HD rate of 30 frames per second (fps) or 120, 240, 420, and 1,000 fps. While players such as Quick Time and Media Player are very useful, if your budget permits, Dartfish allows a field event coach to calculate speed, distance, and release/jump angles (just to name a few of its applications). There are other solutions, such as the free and open source video analysis program Kinovea. Kinovea is not as advanced as Dartfish, but has many of the same functions; it can be downloaded for free at www.kinovea.org.
Conclusion Field events are arguably the most technically challenging in all of track & field, not only for the athlete but for the coach as well. The ability of the coach to observe and provide meaningful feedback in appropriate doses, while at the same time helping the athlete to focus on the tasks and goals at hand are the keys to success. Being mindful of the experience level and processing skills of the athlete will help you achieve that success quicker. Todd Linder is the associate head men’s and woman’s track & field coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he coaches the throws and multi-events. Patrick Barragan is an MIT assistant coach overseeing the pole vault and Peter McNaughton is an MIT assistant who coaches the sprints & hurdles.
kati e bright photo
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Trusting the process
Implementing process goals for inexperienced and struggling athletes By Landon Bright
n psychology, goals act as regulators of human action, and challenging, specific goals will lead to better performance than “achieve your best” or “no goal” situations. So, it is easy to see why, among coaching circles, goal setting programs are incorporated to help athletes achieve success. But setting the right types of goals for individuals can be a challenge, as incomplete goal setting can have a negative effect on an athlete’s performance. Coaches who deal with novice and struggling athletes can find themselves in a difficult position when wanting to help athletes set goals. How do you set goals for someone who has never competed? What type of goals do you set for someone who has not experienced personal success on the track? What kind of goals can be set for athletes who are having a disappointing season or are dealing with low self-esteem? These are important and good questions to ask, and some of the answers may lie in implementing process goals.
Background Within sports psychology, two main types of goals can be distinguished: outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals focus on the end point of a competition result, such as winning a race or setting a personal record. Process goals specify the behavior in which an athlete will engage to accomplish their outcome goals or otherwise perform satisfactorily. For example, in order to set a personal record in the 5K, a runner might need to set a process goal of starting out a race faster than usual. Outcome goals are necessary as an athlete becomes more experienced, but at the early stages of learning a sport, process goals can be highlighted to bring the athlete some early success. They can also help the struggling athlete, who may be dealing with low self-esteem and internal or external pressures to perform better. Using process goals can help athletes avoid the negative aspects of outcome goals, which include higher stress levels and a lack of focus. Using process goals can lead to improved concentration, lowered anxiety and increased self-confidence that may even be exaggerated in a novice or struggling athlete. november 2012
trusting the process
Improved Concentration By focusing on discrete behaviors, athletes can concentrate on important techniques for their sport. For example, a novice runner would find it more beneficial to focus on the position of their hands than worrying about their finish time. By focusing on times or places, young or struggling athletes may actually be distracting themselves from what they need to concentrate on in order to succeed. Using process goals, however, to improve concentration goes beyond daily training sessions. It actually helps the athlete improve skills and techniques by allowing them to concentrate on discrete behaviors (processes) that combine to constitute a complete complex action. This is in contrast to focusing on outcome goals, which can distract the athlete, as they tend to worry about competition outcomes and not taskrelevant strategies. For complex tasks, long-term seasonal training programs can allow sufficient time for goals to improve development of skill-enhancement strategies that are key to boosting performance (Kingston & Hardy, 1997). Processes provide athletes with limited focuses, which if followed, will increase the likelihood of improving the target behavior or outcome goal. For example, a young long jumper might set a goal to improve his flight time during the course of the season. In order to complete this long-term complex task, the athlete would benefit from concentrating on a process goal, such as aggressive planting of the foot onto the takeoff area. A study conducted by Hardy, Jones and Gould (1996) supports this, as they found process goals could logically form part of the technique development that lead to the eventual automation of the performance. So for young athletes who have yet to develop strong technical abilities, process goals can encourage positive concentration habits to improve their marks.
Lowered Anxiety Coaches who structure goal setting programs or work with athletes to create them cannot underestimate the potential influence goals can have on athletes. Outcome goals can elicit negative effects in the form of anxiety. The nature of outcome goals is not inherently bad, but the overemphasis of them (especially related to competition) can create anxiety and hurt performance as the athlete spends undue time worrying about the goals instead of accomplishing a task (Weinberg & Gould, 2011). The proper implementation of process goals may provide coaches a remedy for the shortcomings we see in outcome goals. Kingston and Hardy (1997) demonstrated that process goal setting training groups demonstrated improvements in psychological processes thought to support effective performance, such as anxiety control. By focusing on form and technique as goals, athletes are required to allocate substantial attentional resources to that objective. This focus results in a reduction in attentional resources available for otherwise superfluous information, especially in competitive situations. In theory, focusing on skills will take away from potentially anxiety-inducing thoughts, such as trying to win a race for the first time or qualifying for an elite meet. For athletes new to the sport, it can be intimidating competing in their first track or cross country meet, especially if the
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thought of getting last or lapped is in the back of their minds. And while for some beginners getting last may be a reasonable outcome, telling the athlete that will lead them to negative thinking, and potentially bad habits. Using a process goal will give the athlete a task to focus on rather than worrying about the perceived outcome. Using a cue, such as â€œstay tallâ€? will help the athlete gain control of the situation. Process goals will also help new athletes manage their anxiety. When they become nervous about a race, the athlete can think, or be reminded, about what steps they need to take in order to perform well, which can lead to lower anxiety levels.
Increased Self-Confidence Further examinations of process goals show us that their use can have a positive effect on self-confidence. Process goals allow performers to exert greater control over the performance result than outcome goals do. This increased control of goal achievement has a positive effect on self-confidence. Kingston and Hardy (1997) stated that the increased self-confidence athletes show with process goals also represents an increased understanding of how to attain other types of goals. For example, a runner accomplishing the goal of staying relaxed in the middle of a race will experience increased self-confidence and begin to understand what actions are required in order to run faster. Outcome goals can be influenced by external factors, such as the environmental conditions and the opponentâ€™s ability. Having the goal of finishing in the top 10 will greatly depend on the ability of other runners in the race. Likewise, trying to set a personal record will depend on the environment and if others in the race want to run fast that day. Process goals, on the other hand, enable the athlete to exert near total control because they are based entirely on the pursuit of the performance objectives. This means process goals can be achieved more consistently and, consequently, will have a greater and more reliable positive effect on self-confidence. Process goals are also beneficial in this area as athletes may lose an event, but will not lose self-confidence if process goals are achieved. For example, a runner may not have set a personal record, but they were able to achieve their process goal of speeding up at the end of the race. This positive goal achievement increases self-confidence and could result in both increased skill and better performances later on.
Part Process vs. Holistic For more experienced athletes who have developed higher levels of technical ability, coaches may want to apply process goals more carefully as they could possibly lead to negative outcomes. By focusing on aspects of a performance, athletes can set process goals that help them stay focused and improve their performance. But much like outcome goals, the improper use of process goals can lead to higher state anxiety, especially in already anxious athletes. This is because process goals can lead to conscious processing. Conscious processing as defined by Masters (1992) is the idea that skilled athletes may show performance impairment due to the disruption of automatic task control. This happens when athletes attempt to ensure task success by adopting conscious control that is usually associ-
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Figure 1: Part and holistic process goals used by long jumpers. Adapted from L. Hardy and R. Mullen, 2010, “Conscious Processing and the Process Goal Paradox,” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 32 (3): 275. ated with inexperienced athletes. For example, an experienced athlete might be struggling with the second phase of the triple jump during competition. But if the athlete were to make it a process goal to improve on one aspect of the second phase during competition, it may not be beneficial. This is because the athlete is over-focusing on one aspect of a complex action, which could result in a series of movements that will impair fluidity and efficiency and could hurt performance. A study conducted by Jackson, Ashford and Norsworthy (2006) examined whether process goals impaired performance under pressure in a soccer-dribbling task. The results showed that using a part process goal had a negative effect on dribbling performance regardless of the level of pressure. Coaches can combat this negative result by separating process goals into two different categories: part process goals and holistic goals. Mullen and Hardy (2000) have suggested part process goals lead to inferior performance, while holistic goals maintain or improve motor performance. This is because holistic goals allow the athlete to incorporate several tasks into a single global movement and avoid conscious processing. Mullen and Hardy have also suggested that if process goals are a part of a pre-competition routine, they should be holistic in nature in order to avoid increased levels of cognitive state anxiety. A runner who wants to avoid clenching his fists during a race would benefit from making it his goal to stay “smooth” instead of listing all of the part process goals before his race. 48
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Using a cue, such as “smooth” will trigger the behavior of holding the hand loosely while running to avoid tightening up. This cue will help the athlete from over-thinking and will allow for the automation of the appropriate motor actions. Holistically approached process goals ultimately allow the appropriate sub-actions of a movement to be generated more automatically, an action known as “chunking.” This is in direct contrast to part process goals that lead athletes to focus on parts of the movement using knowledge they have built up over years of experience. Athletes want to “chunk” this knowledge together, instead of separating it into parts that lead to over-thinking, anxiety and slower movements. Usually, coaches will not have issues with conscious processing with novice athletes, but holistic process goals should be used with experienced athletes that may be struggling to perform over the course of a season.
Implementation When introducing process goals to inexperienced or struggling athletes, the initial intent may not be for them to perform better, but to set them up for success, which will hopefully keep them engaged in the sport. Process goals may not turn around a struggling athlete’s season or turn a new runner into a star runner, but they may give the athlete the boost of confidence they need to stay motivated for following seasons. This is not to discredit outcome goals, as researchers have
proved that the most beneficial goal setting programs use both types. Outcome goals are very useful for taking athletes to the next level (however that may be defined), as athletes choose to become more competitive. Process goals are an introduction to the world of healthy goal setting programs, and if done right, they can lead to an athlete’s improvement each season. It is important to note the context of each goal. Kingston and Hardy (1994) showed that golfers could use different types of goals within the context of preparation and execution of skills. For example, process goals might help an athlete concentrate during practice, but outcome goals might motivate the athlete to practice more often and with more effort. Essentially, outcome goals might be important to get one to the practice facility, but process goals will ensure that one uses the practice time to the best effect. The key is to prioritize the goals in different contexts and continually emphasize process goals alongside outcome goals. For every outcome goal a team or athlete sets, several process goals should be set to achieve the outcome.
Review Unfortunately, coaches in every sport often put too strong an emphasis on outcome goals. Although these types of goals can provide motivation to get better, for many inexperienced athletes they are only good for pointing out shortcomings. In order to keep athletes motivated and excited to compete, process goals are essential. It would be beneficial for every difficult practice and competition to have at least one process goal that the coach and athlete can discuss, regardless of the performance for that day. Process goals can aid coaches in teaching positive habits, thoughts and behaviors. As Filby, Maynard and Graydon stated, “The benefits of adopting an outcome goal are realized only when the outcome goal is combined with the prioritization of a process orientation immediately before, and during performance” (p. 242).
Here are some suggested process goal behaviors and cues that can be used for runners: • Run tall • Proper hand position. Thumbs cusped loosely over index finger. • Look forward entire race • Start race or workout faster than usual • Start race or workout slower than usual • Don’t use watch or ask about time • Try a different warm-up • Run with a pack • Stay focused on the race • Keep good form when fatigued • Use positive self-talk techniques • Surge during races The possibilities are endless. Whatever technical, mental or physical aspect the athlete needs to work on can be transformed into a process goal. Keep in mind that there are two basic parts of goal setting: designating and evaluating. This means process goals need to be defined and discussed in order to be beneficial.
References Filby, W.C.D., Maynard, I.W., & Graydon, J.K. (1999). The effect 50
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katie bright p hoto
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of multiple-goal strategies on performance outcome in training and competition. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 11, 230246 Hardy, L. Jones, J.G., & Gould, D. (1996). Understanding psychological preparation for sport: Theory and practice of elite performers. Chichester, UK: John Wiley. Jackson, R.C., Ashford, K.J., & Norsworthy, G. (2006). Attentional focus, dispositional reinvestment, and skilled motor performance under pressure. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 28, 49-68. Kingston, K., & Hardy, L. (1994). Factors affecting the salience of outcome, performance, and process goals in golf. In. A Cohran & M. Farrally (Eds.), Science and golf 2 (pp.144-149). London: Chapman-Hill Kingston, K.M., & Hardy, L. (1997). Effects of Different Types of Goals on Processes That Support Performance. The Sport Psychologist, 11, 277-293. Masters, R.S.W. (1992). Knowledge, knerves and know-how: The role of explicit versus implicit knowledge in the breakdown of a complex motor skill under pressure. The British Journal of Psychology, 83, 343-358. Mullen, R., & Hardy, L. (2000) State anxiety and motor performance: Testing the conscious processing hypothesis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18, 785-799. Mullen, R., & Hardy, L. (2010) Conscious Processing and the Process Goal Paradox. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 32(3), 275. Weinberg, R.S., & Gould, D. (2011). Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology. (5th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Landon Bright received his B.A. in Journalism from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, where he ran cross country and track. He currently serves as the cross country and track & field graduate assistant at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, where he is pursuing his master’s degree in Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation.
USTFCCCA Coaches Hall
dr. dick hill
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In a career that has spanned nearly 40 years, Dick Booth established himself as one of the world’s most successful jumps coaches. Booth’s resume includes 49 NCAA individual champions and 150 All-America performers. Currently an assistant coach at the University of Alabama, Booth’s career includes 27 years of service at the University of Arkansas where he helped the Razorbacks become the NCAA’s winningest men’s program. Before joining Alabama, Booth had two successful years at the University of Florida where his athletes helped the Gators claim two NCAA indoor team titles. Booth started his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at Arkansas in 1978 and was there for six years before moving on to the University of Southwestern Louisiana for his lone head-coaching
During a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Dr. Dick Hill was a groundbreaker. After graduating with honors from Southern University where he was a three sport athlete, Hill was the first student from an HBC to earn an NAIA Scholar-Athlete Graduate Scholarship. After earning his master’s degree at the University of Buffalo, Hill started his coaching career at Florida A & M in 1963 where he led the Rattlers to back to back conference titles. The team, led by Bob Hayes, was the first of what would be many Olympians and National champions developed by Hill. Following his two years at A & M, Hill returned to his alma mater in Baton Rouge where he would be for the next seven years. During that span, Southern won five straight NAIA Track & Field Championships, teams that included the likes of Olympic Gold Medalist Willie Davenport and Rod Milburn as well as former world
Vin Lananna is being inducted into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame during the pinnacle of his storied career. Over a collegiate coaching career that has spanned more than 35 years, Lananna has led his squads to 11 national titles and 42 conference crowns. In the last seven years, as Associate AD and Director of Track & Field at the University of Oregon, Lananna has guided the Ducks to six NCAA team titles and 13 conference championships. In addition, he led hosting duties for several world-class events at UO’s Historic Hayward Field, including the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the 2009 and 2011 USATF Championships. Lanana also led the efforts that landed the 2013 and 2014 Division I Championships and the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships. The Men of Oregon captured NCAA titles in cross country during the 2007 and 2008 seasons and notched
position in 1985. During his four-year tenure at USL, he guided high jumper Hollis Conway to two NCAA titles. Conway went on to win a silver medal in the high jump at the 1988 Olympics and a bronze medal in 1992, becoming one of two Americans to medal twice in the event. Booth returned to Arkansas where he would stay for another 21 years. Booth coached 11 Olympians, 45 individual national champions, and 137 athletes who gained All-America honors while at Arkansas. His list of former Arkansas athletes includes icons such as Mike Conley, Erick Walder and more. While at Florida in 2011, Booth guided Christian Taylor and Will Claye to first- and second-place triple jump finishes at both the NCAA Championships and U.S. Championships. Claye was also named the USTFCCCA’s National Field Athlete of the Year during the outdoor season.
record holder Theron “T Bird” Lewis. Following a sabbatical taken to complete his Doctorate, Hill moved on to San Diego State where he would stay for nine years. In 1980, the Aztecs won the WAC title and, in the year prior, SDSU went 12-0 in duals. Hill was named as assistant coach to Team USA that was the first national team to compete against China in their country. He was also an assistant for national teams that included the 1981 U.S. World Cup team and 1983 Pan-America Games team. In the final 20 years of his career, Hill made his mark as an administrator. From 1981 to 1986, Hill was the Athletics Director at Southern. He moved on to Louisville from 1986 to 1992 where he was Senior Associate Athletic Director before turning to MIT where he spent 1992 to 2000 as Director of Athletics and Intramurals.
the indoor track and field crown in 2009. For Oregon’s women, the Ducks are the three-time defending indoor national champions and have finished runner-up outdoors in three of the last four years. Renowned for his ability to develop talent, Lananna’s reputation was secured during his tenure as Director of Track and Field at Stanford University from 1992 to 2003. During his time at Stanford, Lananna built one of the nation’s elite programs. He also received three National Coach of the Year cross country honors, nine West Region Cross Country Coach of the Year awards among other prestigious titles. Lananna arrived at Stanford after serving as assistant athletic director and head coach for cross country and track and field at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. His coaching career began in 1975 when he was named head cross country coach at his alma mater, CW Post University.
of Fame Class of 2012 The late Bob Pollock led Clemson to 21 ACC Championships in his 20 years as head coach of the school’s men’s track & field program. He established department-wide Clemson coaching records for ACC titles (21), ACC Coach of the Year selections (19) and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year selections (16). He coached the men’s indoor track team to 11 top-20 finishes and the men’s outdoor program to 10 top-20 seasons. Seven of the indoor track national finishes were within the top ten. During the 1988-89 season, Pollock’s first at Clemson, he led his teams to the “Triple Crown” of ACC titles. That year, the Tigers won the conference titles in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field, a first in Clemson history. In 20 seasons under Pollock between 1988- 2008, Clemson won 11 indoor ACC titles, nine outdoor and one cross country title. His indoor teams won every
ACC crown from 1989-93 and then again from 19972002. He led the Tigers to outdoor conference titles in each of his first three seasons. In cross country, Pollock’s 1988 team won the league championship and finished fourth at the NCAA national meet. Pollock was named Indoor National Coach of the Year in 1992 after leading Clemson to a national runner-up team finish, the best in program history. Pollock coached athletes who won 13 national championships during his time at Clemson. Fourteen student-athletes from Pollock’s program went on to compete in the Olympic Games. Success and conference titles were nothing new to Pollock when he came to Clemson. During 14 years as head track and cross country coach at Appalachian State University, Pollock led the Mountaineers to five Southern Conference outdoor titles, four indoor championships and one cross country title.
Although he never competed in track and field as an athlete, the late Fran Welch is remembered as a key figure in the rise of the Emporia State program. His track and cross country teams claimed 18 league crowns, four NAIA cross country championships, one NAIA track & field title, and one NCAA small college cross country title during his 24-year career at the school. He coached at the school from 1928 to 1943 and from 1946 to 1955. Welch, a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, came to Emporia State in 1914 and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. When he quarterbacked the football team, the Hornets had a 24-1-2 record. Later on, with 24 years as a football coach, he compiled a 11681-15 mark, and his teams won six conference titles. Born in 1895 in Hartfield, Kan., Welch was a resi-
dent of the Sunflower state his entire life. Welch was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1918 from Emporia State (then Kansas Normal College), then completed requirements for a degree in agriculture at Kansas State University. He served as a U.S. Army Lieutenant in World War I and took a leave of absence from teaching to serve in World War II as a Captain and special services officer at Fort Riley. Welch was a member of the Physical Education Department staff at ESU from 1920 until 1965, when he retired. He was an internationally known track and field coach and he had trained a number of Olympic athletes. ESU’s football and track and field stadium was renamed Welch Stadium in 1960 in his honor.
John Zupanc recently completed a triumphant run as head men’s track and field and cross country coach at UW-Oshkosh. He guided the Titan program, which became one of the dominant figures in NCAA Division III, to six NCAA team championships and seven conference crowns. Zupanc started with the school as a volunteer assistant on the track & field squad in 1981 but was shortly called upon to become the head cross country coach in 1982. Zupanc served as an assistant track and field coach until becoming the head coach to start the 2005 outdoor season. As the men’s cross country coach, Zupanc tallied four NCAA team titles with a three-year sweep in 1988, 1989, and 1990. He added a crown in 2002 as part of eight trophy (top-four) finishes in the squad’s 19 appearances at the NCAA meet. Thirtysix of his cross country athletes won All-America honors including four-time honorees Dave Lambert
and Scott Steuernagel. In 2002, Zupanc was named National Cross Country Coach of the Year. His cross country squads also won seven WIAC titles and five won conference individual crowns. Steuernagel was a two-time WIAC champ with victories in 1989 and 1990. As head track and field coach, Zupanc’s athletes claimed ten NCAA event titles and 115 All-America honors. The Titans finished in the nation’s top-four on five occasions indoors. In addition, with a sweep of NCAA track and field crowns in 2009, UW-Oshkosh claimed the 2008-2009 USTFCCCA Al Carius Program of the Year title. Zupanc received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Zupanc’s wife, Deb Vercauteren – a class of 2006 inductee into the USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame – was part of a powerful coaching duo with John coaching the men, Deb coaching the women at UWO.
the BOWERMAN Cam Levins – Southern Utah University Cam Levins swept NCAA Outdoor crowns at 5000 and 10,000 meters this season. Using a 58.06 final lap, he maintained his two-second lead to take the 10K title in 28:07.14, the best time in the NCAA Championship meet since 1984. Earlier in the season Levins ran into the record books with great performances at the Mt. SAC Relays and Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. At Mt. SAC, Levins outran Arizona’s Lawi Lalang in a 5000-meter thriller to clock the NCAA’s best time of the season, 13:18.47. The mark is fifth all-time in the col-
legiate ranks and the fastest by a collegian since 2008. At the Payton Jordan meet, Levins claimed another victory in the 10K over a strong field of collegians and professionals. His 27:27.96 would be a world leading time and #2 all time on the collegiate list. Two weeks removed from the Payton Jordan meet, Levins competed in five races at theSummit League Outdoor Championships and earned MVP honors in the process. Indoors, he was named the Summit League’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year after taking home four conference titles.
Tony McQuay – University of Florida Tony McQuay helped lead the Gators to their first NCAA Outdoor team title with a national crown in the 400 meters and as anchor of the 4x400 relay that took victory. In the 400, McQuay claimed top honors with the season’s collegiate best time of 44.58 seconds. In the 4x400, McQuay literally clinched the team title for the Gators. Taking the baton in second place and his team down two points heading into the meet’s final event, the relay team needed to win the race to secure at least a share of the team crown. McQuay, with a 44.01 split, sprinted past Southern California’s Bryshon Nellum to earn
the victory. The SEC Championship meet saw McQuay claim the same 400 – 4 x 400 relay double he did at nationals. He was the winner of the 400 meters in 45.48 and the 4 x 400 in 3:03.44. Other big wins during the outdoor season came in the Tom Jones Invitational (4x100 & 4x400), Florida Relays (400) and the Drake Relays (4x400). McQuay is the first since 2008 to sweep NCAA indoor and outdoor 400-meter crowns. He won the national indoor title in the season’s best by a collegian, 45.77.
Andrew Riley – University of Illinois Andrew Riley became the first in NCAA Division I history to win the 100 meters and 110 hurdles at the same outdoor national championships. Riley, USTFCCCA’s National Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, won the 100 meters in one of the closest finishes in NCAA meet history. Riley forged through a headwind of 2.3 meters per second (5.14 mph) to best Auburn’s Harry Adams by two thousandths of a second (10.272 to 10.274) and Florida State’s Maurice Mitchell by five thousands of a second (10.277). Riley entered the NCAA Championships as the 31st overall seed, out of 96 contestants, with a personal best established earlier in the season 54
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of 10.28. In the meet’s first round, Riley clocked 10.19 and then won his quarterfinal heat in a wind-aided 10.03 seconds. At the finals site, Riley had a real breakthrough, clocking a new personal best of 10.02 in the semifinal. In the 110 hurdles, Riley, the 2010 NCAA champ, won each of the NCAAs four rounds and clocked 13.53 in the final, despite 3.5meters per second headwind (7.83 mph). Illinois earn a spot in the final of the 4 x 100 meter relay at the national meet. Riley was named the Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships after claiming three conference titles.
finalist 2012 Brigetta Barrett – University of Arizona With sweeps of NCAA high jump crowns in the indoor and outdoor seasons, Barrett became the first woman in Division I history to earn dualseason titles in back-to-back years, a combination of four consecutive national titles between the seasons. For the indoor NCAA meet, Barrett cleared 6-5 (1.96m) – tied for the seventh-best mark in collegiate history – to take the crown and was one of only two to clear a bar at more than six feet that day. At the outdoor national championships, Barrett won with a clearance of 6-4 (1.93m). Barrett cleared 6-5½ (1.97m) at the indoor Razorback Invitational in January.
That leap tied Barrett for the second-best mark in indoor collegiate history and was the best among the collegiate ranks since 2009. Barrett was undefeated in both seasons with five indoor wins and seven outdoor victories. In nine of those meets, Barrett cleared 6-4 (1.93m) or better to win. Dating back to 2011, Barrett has won 17-straight competitions versus collegiate competition. In both 2011 and 2012, no one has cleared a bar higher than Barrett in a competition, her only loss in that time span was based on fewer misses. She was the Pac-12 Champion for the second-consecutive season as well.
Kimberlyn Duncan – Louisiana State University In 2012, Kimberlyn Duncan became the first woman in NCAA Division I to win back-to-back indoor and outdoor national titles in the 200 meters. Duncan now has six NCAA titles to her credit – four with the 200 meters and two with the 4x100 relay. The 200 meter final saw Duncan clock a 22.86 despite a 2.3 meters-per-second headwind. Her semi-final effort of 22.19 established a new low altitude all time collegiate best and was the world leader at the time. The 42.68 turned in by the 4 x 100 meter relay squad in the semi-final ranks as the 7th best in collegiate history. Indoors, Duncan notched her second-consecutive 200-
meter title with a 2012 world-best time of 22.74. Duncan became the first to win back-to-back crowns in the event since LSU’s Muna Lee (200203). Duncan had a full season – 65 races in all. She was undefeated against collegiate competition in the 200, winning six finals indoors and four outdoors. She ran in 13 of LSU’s 4x100s, anchored 12, and lost just once. Duncan was named the Honda Sport Award Winner for women’s track and field for the 2012 season and was the coaches’ choice for USTFCCCA Outdoor National Track Athlete of the Year.
Brianne Theisen – University of Oregon Brianne Theisen is the first three-time semifinalist in The Bowerman history. She added two more NCAA titles to her trophy case this season by again winning national crowns in the indoor pentathlon and outdoor heptathlon, the third time she’s accomplished that feat. Among NCAA Division I women, Theisen is now tied for fourth on the all-time championship-titles list. Indoors, Theisen won the national crown with 4,536 points, joining Arizona State’s Jacquelyn Johnson (2006-07-08) as the only other three time champion in the event. Outdoors, she won with a personal best and number two all-time collegiate 6,440 points. The victory earned her a spot along-
side Houston’s Jolanda Jones (1986-87-89) and Arizona State’s Jacquelyn Johnson (2006-07-08) as the only three-time heptathlon titleist. In January, at Texas A&M’s Mondo Challenge, Theisen broke her own collegiate record in the pentathlon for the third time with a tally of 4,555. In that event’s high jump portion, Theisen cleared 6-2 (1.88m) and finished the season tied for second among all collegians. The 4,555 score also broke the Canadian record of 4,550 that was set in 1982. The Pac-12 Field Athlete of the Year, she also won the Pac-12 title in the heptathlon (6,353) for the third time.
Updates from the NCAA Eligibility Center
by john pfeffenberger
n the past several installments of Updates from the NCAA Eligibility Center, we have focused mainly on new academic requirements for NCAA Division I, and the impact that these changes may have on future student-athletes. Although we cannot underscore enough the importance of these new academic changes, I thought that it might be time to move forward with some additional reminders for those future student-athletes that may choose to participate in NCAA Division II.
The Key Division II Change: Although the core course requirement change in Division II has been heavily publicized and made note of over the past several years, I thought that this particular issue of techniques would provide an excellent time to remind those future studentathletes in Division II of the coming changes to Division II core course requirements to become eligible.
So, what are these changes? Starting with first-time enrollees in the fall of 2013, Division II will increase the core course requirement from 14 to 16 core courses.
What do I need to take those additional courses in? One additional course must be in English, math or science. The other additional course may be in any core academic area, including: English, math, science, social science or foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy.
Why should I care about this? For future student-athletes planning to enroll at an NCAA Division II college or university in the fall of 2013 or later, these new requirements must be met in order to be eligible to participate in athletics.
Where can I find out more about this? There are three key references to find out more about this new Division II academic legislation: • See the Quick Reference Guide or the Initial Eligibility Brochure. (This has been sent to every high school in the country, and the guidance office or athletic department will likely have this on file.) • See the NCAA Guide for the College Bound Student-Athlete, which is available on the resources page of www.eligibilitycenter.org. 56
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• High school administrators have special access to additional resources that can be provided to future student-athletes. High School administrators can access the resources page of the NCAA High School Portal at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
NFHS/NCAA Course: Aside from these important reminders about academic changes in NCAA Division II, I would also like to pass along to you that the NCAA Eligibility Center now has an online course to educate coaches, parents and the high school community. As you know, the NCAA’s initial-eligibility standards for student-athletes enrolling in an NCAA Division I college or university on or after Aug. 1, 2016 (this year’s high school freshman class) are changing. Also, the core course requirements increase in Division II, discussed above, is forth-coming. In an effort to spread the word about this important information, we are pleased to announce to you that the NCAA Initial Eligibility course available through www.NFHSLearn.com has been updated with the new academic requirements and is being made available at no charge. Please visit www.NFHSLearn.com and take 30-45 minutes to complete the Initial Eligibility course, which will familiarize you with the new academic requirements, as well as the NCAA Eligibility Center’s registration and certification process required for college-bound student athletes.
For Coaches: Additional resources are available for you to communicate and provide the new academic standards to parents and prospective student-athletes. Please share this information with your colleagues, as it will assist the NCAA in their outreach and education efforts, to provide prospective student-athletes with the best information and knowledge to achieve success in the initial-eligibility process. Please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Quick Reminders About the Registration Process for Future Student-athletes and Coaches: • If planning to enroll in the winter/spring enrollment period (mid-year), please be sure that the NCAA Eligibility Center registration process is completed, and that a request for Final Amateurism Certification is made on the Eligibility Center’s website. The Final Amateurism Certification request can be made simply by pressing the red “Request Final Amateurism” button on the right side of the My Planner screen in the registration. Note that the button will only become available once you meet the requirements to request Final Amateurism Certification. • Be sure, if enrolling mid-year, to have all transcripts, test scores and any additional academic documentation provided to the NCAA Eligibility Center as soon as possible. Transcripts and academic documentation must be official copies, and must be sent directly to the NCAA Eligibility Center, or through an approved transcript submission service. Materials may be submitted to the NCAA Eligibility Center at: NCAA Eligibility Center Certification Processing 1802 Alonzo Watford Senior Drive Indianapolis, IN 46202 As always, if you have questions or ideas for additional article topics, please feel free to contact me a email@example.com.