Practitioners have, for many years, argued that athletic sprinters should optimize front-side mechanics (leg motions occurring in front of the extended line through the torso) and minimize back-side mechanics. This study aimed to investigate if variables related to front- and back-side mechanics can be distinguished from other previously highlighted kinematic variables (spatiotemporal variables and variables related to segment configuration and velocities at touchdown) in how they statistically predict performance. A total of 24 competitive sprinters (age: 23.1 [3.4] y, height: 1.81 [0.06] m, body mass: 75.7 [5.6] kg, and 100-m personal best: 10.86 [0.22] s) performed two 20-m starts from block and 2 to 3 flying sprints over 20 m. Kinematics were recorded in 3D using a motion tracking system with 21 cameras at a 250 Hz sampling rate. Several front- and back-side variables, including thigh (r = .64) and knee angle (r = .51) at lift-off and maximal thigh extension (r = .66), were largely correlated (P < .05) with accelerated running performance, and these variables displayed significantly higher correlations (P < .05) to accelerated running performance than nearly all the other analyzed variables. However, the relationship directions for most front- and back-side variables during accelerated running were opposite in comparison to how the theoretical concept has been described. Horizontal ankle velocity, contact time, and step rate displayed significantly higher correlation values to maximal velocity sprinting than the other variables (P < .05), and neither of the included front- and back-side variables were significantly associated with maximal velocity sprinting. Overall, the present findings did not support that front-side mechanics were crucial for sprint performance among the investigated sprinters.
Thomas Haugen, Jørgen Danielsen, Leif Olav Alnes, David McGhie, Øyvind Sandbakk and Gertjan Ettema
Thomas A. Haugen, Espen Tønnessen, Jonny Hisdal and Stephen Seiler
The overall objective of this review was to investigate the role and development of sprinting speed in soccer. Time–motion analyses show that short sprints occur frequently during soccer games. Straight sprinting is the most frequent action before goals, both for the scoring and assisting player. Straight-line sprinting velocity (both acceleration and maximal sprinting speed), certain agility skills, and repeated-sprint ability are shown to distinguish groups from different performance levels. Professional players have become faster over time, indicating that sprinting skills are becoming more and more important in modern soccer. In research literature, the majority of soccer-related training interventions have provided positive effects on sprinting capabilities, leading to the assumption that all kinds of training can be performed with success. However, most successful intervention studies are time consuming and challenging to incorporate into the overall soccer training program. Even though the principle of specificity is clearly present, several questions remain regarding the optimal training methods within the larger context of the team-sport setting. Considering time-efficiency effects, soccer players may benefit more by performing sprint-training regimens similar to the progression model used in strength training and by world-leading athletics practitioners, compared with the majority of guidelines that traditionally have been presented in research literature.
Thomas A. Haugen, Felix Breitschädel and Stephen Seiler
alternative, many coaches and scientists perform general physical testing of players to explore the physical demands and to evaluate the training process. However, the validity of such tests has been questioned. 9 Studies have shown that sprinting skills distinguish players of varying playing standards and
Jake Schuster, Dan Howells, Julien Robineau, Anthony Couderc, Alex Natera, Nick Lumley, Tim J. Gabbett and Nick Winkelman
, training maximal effort and velocity sprinting skills is highly conducive to success in rugby sevens. While a faster player would hypothetically cover ground more economically at proportionately lower running speeds and therefore conserve energy, the ultimate aspiration may be an athlete who possesses both