Keys to the Drive Phase in Sprinting Mechanics
When you start your run, there are some keys to the drive phase in sprinting. With the three phases of a sprint start, it is important to understand each step. The first step is when the foot gets to the knee, the second when the foot gets higher, and the third is the spine position raises. Not sure what I mean? Don’t worry and keep reading. Even if you are asking, what does sprinting mean, we have the answers.
In this blog post, I’ll explain each of the steps in the drive phase in detail and highlight the keys to improving your sprinting. The most important aspect of the drive phase in sprinting is to avoid changing angles and postures all at once. You want to incrementally increase the angles in how you are pushing off the ground during this phase.
If you are new to sprinting and don’t know what is the drive phase in sprinting, let’s have a quick look before learning how to improve the drive phase.
What is the Drive Phase in Sprinting?
Have you ever watched the start of a race? The position that runners take initially is the start of a drive phase. When the race begins, sprinters accelerate and the first 5-10 steps in this process are known as the drive phase.
This phase begins after the start phase and is the time you are building speed or reaching the acceleration phase, which is critical to get into the correct top end speed position. There are keys to the drive phase in sprinting that every runner should know. Why do I say this? Let’s take a look at the importance of the drive phase in sprinting.
Why is the Drive Phase Important in Sprinting?
The drive phase to me is an essential factor that differentiates pro-sprinters from novices. It can make or break your entire run. As it is commonly said, “Well begun is half done.” It holds true for this phase.
The ability of an athlete to reach their top speed depends on the force they generate into the ground. Knowing the keys to the drive phase in sprinting will help you generate that force effectively.
I’ve commonly seen sprinters rush to get to their top speed without following the methods I’m going to explain below and end up utilizing a lot of their energy. They are not able to maximize their potential that way and never achieve the natural rhythm and appropriate stride length with their bodies in sprinting.
How to Improve Drive Phase in Sprinting?
For me, there are three keys to the drive phase in sprinting. If you follow this process, your body will be naturally able to do it. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Foot Gets to the Knee
When you are starting a run, make sure your foot stays behind the knee for the first couple of steps. With the third step, you want your foot to align with your knee. This process is called the start phase and at this point, you enter the drive phase (our focus for this post).
To enter the drive phase, you should get the start phase right. This way you will gain a natural momentum into the drive phase and it’ll help you achieve that natural rhythm with your run to reach the maximum velocity phase of your run.
Foot Gets Higher (Heel Recovery Gets Higher)
As you enter into the drive phase your foot ends up getting a little bit higher with each step and your stride becomes longer, alternating between your right and left leg. So your drive phase begins after the first few steps and you naturally begin to recover your heels a bit higher (how high the foot gets behind you).
The most important thing to note in the drive phase is to achieve this motion in a natural way.
If your mind focuses too much on reaching the top speed as quickly as possible, there’s a chance that you might rush through this phase and never achieve that top speed.
Spine Position Raises
The spine position starts to raise naturally from starting phase to the drive phase. The important thing here is to make sure you don’t get into an upright position right away.
If you try to raise your spine quickly, it’ll break your natural motion while running and you will not be able to gain perfect momentum in the drive phase.
All the steps mentioned in the process will be continuous. At each step, you want to efficiently get your foot ahead of your knee, get your foot higher and raise your spine position. Each step should be natural and incremental and should not be abrupt.
Check Out Our Blog On The Correct Spine Position To Improve Speed
If you want a visual tutorial (explanation) of the above process, you can watch the video below:
Hopefully, the process made sense to you. The point is to be patient and efficient in your drive phase. This really helps you gain the right momentum when moving to your top speed. Don’t get through the process too fast and make it natural.
These are the keys to the drive phase in sprinting. Don’t forget to check our programs designed to help you get faster. You will be surprised at the effectiveness of the programs to help you with your ability to reach your top speed.
Our Simple Speed Coaching Process To Help You Get Faster
STEP 1. SEND IN VIDEO OF YOUR SPRINT VIDEO
This is easy we send you a video to explain what angles to send and how to upload onto our server quickly and easily. You will be able to upload right from your computer or smart device.
STEP 2. RECEIVE SPEED COACHING BREAKDOWN OR ZOOM CALL
Within 24 hours you will get a detailed email back that goes over all the critical details of your running form. This will include drills and exercises to help you improve. If you have any questions we can always schedule a call to make sure everything is clear and concise.
STEP 3. FOLLOW THE SPEED PROGRAM AND MAKE THE CHANGE
Now we will make everything as easy as possible for you to be able to make tremendous improvement in your mechanics. Our speed training programs have tons of drills and exercise to help you improve. However, you must DO THE WORK. YOU WILL GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.
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