The block start in track can be one of the most difficult things to master. It takes many, many practices to understand how to explode out of the blocks and use it to your advantage.
I’ve had some athletes that just can’t pick it up. We end up just having them stand as opposed to continuing to learn it. We just don’t have enough time to get it down and like most young athletes they have a zillion other things they have to take care of in their life.
To really do a good block start, you want to have your track athlete explode off both feet. But, you want that force and burst to be caused by your posterior chain (primarily the glutes) and not the hip flexors.
You want that step low, long, and fast. To keep it simple.
Before I explain the drill that will help your block start in track, I wanted to let you know if you did not see my blog post on improving your first step in soccer, take a look at it. That same drill I discuss there will also help your block starts.
Alright, so the drill you are going to do with your tracksters is called a wall start.
I can’t take all the credit for it. I learned it from Chris Korfist, one of the best sprint coaches in the U.S. Having done it with my athletes, I think it will really help yours.
Start with your athlete standing against a wall. Pick one leg up off the floor and place the foot flush against the wall. Once the athlete is in position, give a command to start and he/she will push off the wall with that back foot and explode into a sprint.
Your sprint can be whatever distance you make it to be. 10 – 20 yards should be fine. We only do 3 – 4 steps because we don’t have a lot of room where the wall is, but it still works.
It teaches the athletes to push off that back foot for an explosion. Once they go onto the blocks and you discuss about smashing your heels into the blocks, they will get a much better start.
One athlete we were working with basically just stood up when the gun went off. There was no explosion. Doing these for a few workouts and she is much, much better out of the blocks. We still have things to work on, but a lot better than the before we started doing the wall starts.
I took a video to show you what I’m talking about. You should be able to click it directly on this page, or you can click here to watch it as well.
You don’t have to do a lot of these. I like doing 3 or 4 then go into block starts. You can switch legs if you want to balance them out. In the off-season I might do this, but pre-season to in-season I’d stick with your back leg against the wall.
Give it a shot. Let me know what you think in the comments’ box below.