Saturday, January 2, 2010

USAIN BOLT - Was he really an overnight success? Read on......

Read what Glen Mills, Usain Bolt's coach, had to say about the importance of proper training. I have highlighted certain passages. Read this carefully!

Usain is an extremely gifted athlete. When I started working with him, one of the things that stood out like a sore thumb was his poor mechanics. He was running behind the centre of balance. This resulted in a negative force against his forward drive and it was affecting other areas. For example, his body position put pressure on his lower back and there was a continual shift of his hip girdle and a pull on his hamstring. He was continually having hamstring problems and my assessment was that one of the things that contributed to it was his poor mechanics. Our first task was to get him to run with his upper body core in line with his centre of mass or a forward lean of somewhere around 5-10°. We set about doing drills then we took videos of his workouts and broke them down on the screen in slow motion to show him exactly what he was doing. I would draw diagrams and show him the position that we are working to achieve. Part of his poor mechanics was because
he was not able hold the sprint position during maximum velocity running, so we had to do an intense programme to develop his core strength. In Beijing he showed a mastery of the technique that we had been working on, but the transformation took two years. Athletes tend to reverse to their old habits when put under pressure or when running at maximum velocity. Like helping an actor learning a part, coaches have to continuously react and replay and redo the drills, getting the athlete to run over and over in order to break habits, both psychologically and physically, and get into the right running technique.

Take home messages for athletes:
1. PATIENCE - it takes time to learn proper technique! If it took Usain Bolt 2 YEARS to learn to run correctly, how much time do you think YOU will need?
2. TECHNIQUE - you MUST learn proper technique!
3. CORE, CORE, CORE - you MUST develop core strength!

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