Maximum velocity is when we can no longer accelerate: using biomechanics to inform speed development

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Jon Goodwin

A strength and conditioning coach’s toolbox is packed full of skills from a wide spectrum of specialities. An awareness of physiology informs our understanding of adaptation through gene expression and metabolic function; skill acquisition informs our practice structure and coaching behaviour; psychology does some of the same and helps us improve relationships, adherence, motivation and manage arousal. All these things are essential, but for me the biggest area that informs my grasp of strength and conditioning is biomechanics. In particular in the development of an explicit motor ability such as sprinting, almost all of my coaching decisions, bar the importance of cycling of stress, are informed by biomechanics. An example is the way in which we characterise what maximum velocity sprinting is. It may seem like an obvious statement and it’s not a typical definition, but maximum velocity sprinting is when we can no longer accelerate.

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