When working with athletes from different sports, it is important to ensure that they develop foundational running Biomechanics as a base for their sport training. Once the athletes have demonstrated competence in basic linear acceleration, sprinting and running, we can look more specifically at the kind of movements and transitional activities that occur in their sport.
Many coaches and trainers will argue that linear sprinting is not useful for their sport. They preach that multi-directional speed is much more important. This could not be further from the truth. All you have to do is watch high level sport to find out that the shortest path between two points is a straight line. The next time you watch a football, rugby, baseball, soccer or basketball game, count how many times you see someone running straight. You will discover that most of the time, when running occurs, it will be in a fairly straight path. This is not to say that other movements such as cutting, backpedalling, pivoting and lateral shuffles do not play an important role in sport. However, linear acceleration and sprinting will form the foundation of all movement for most sports. Once this foundation is laid, work can be done on other transitional aspects of movement.
Our approach to working with multi-sport athletes is to develop key acceleration and sprinting skills. Once an athlete retains these skills, we then work on the transitional movements that form the end points of the linear sprint. These end points take the form of starting postures, direction change skills, re-acceleration mechanics and possible points of physical contact with other athletes. In the case of a football athlete, these transitional end-points can include three-point starts, pivoting from a back-pedal to a full sprint, cutting back to the quarterback or moving from a block to a downfield sprint. In all cases, good Biomechanics must be part of the combined set of movements. If an athlete has poor starting posture or a poorly executed pivot, the resulting sprint effort will be compromised.
At Art Of Running, we ensure that all of our athletes understand the importance of the individual movement elements that make up their sport. Good running technique will lead to improvements in many different areas.