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Hey! I'm 15 1/2 and I play varsity football as a lineman/kicker/punter. I would like to stop being a lineman and be more as a fullback. I weigh 165 if that means anything which from the few topics that I've read, it does. Anyways, my sprint form right now doesn't feel right because when my foot comes forward it kind of "flops" and doesn't stay erect which probably decreases my aerodynamic ability. Then I read on a site that says that when your foot lands it should land directly beneath of your center of gravity so that you are creating more of a push. Well, when I was running at weightlifting yesterday (Thursday) I didn't feel like I was moving very fast. It was more smooth and my feet weren't flopping but I didn't feel like I was moving very fast. Can someone please help?

James

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I'd like to help you out here but I don't know jack about sprints. You're correct in that your feet shouldn't be flopping - you should be up on the balls of your feet. Do you have a track coach, one that works with the sprinters, you can go to for some advice?
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I do but I'm not all that comfortable with talking to him. I don't know it's just weird. . . That and they don't really teach you proper sprinting form, they just time you and put you in different places, atleast that's what a friend of mine told me who does track. But, I think I came up with a solution to my own question lol. Maybe instead of taking a lot of small breaths I should "push" on my exhale for a couple of strides to push my legs and arms faster and then inhale and repeat. I don't know. Let me know what you think of this possible solution!

James
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Trying to time your breathing with your strides can lead to either too much or not not enough breaths being taken if you adhere to it strictly. For myself, when I'm doing 400 meter intervals (my version of sprinting) I generally exhale every 3rd stride. During a normal paced run it's usually every 4th stride. But I also leave that open to change so that I can meet my bodys oxygen requirements.

The best thing you can do is keep working at it. Running form becomes natural the more running you do. There is no one perfect method of doing anything. Go to the library, keep looking on-line, etc. You may find a site that caters strictly to sprinters.

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When I was sprinting my legs were moving really fast but I felt slow. Do you know anything about that? Should I move the placement of my foot impact from the balls of my feet to forefoot w/e that is??

James
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You should definitely ask your track coach to show you good sprinting form, that would be the best since he could actually show you.

It sounds like to me the strides you're taking just aren't big enough and that's why you feel like you're moving slow. It may sound silly but you should try sprinting with an exaggerated stride, going as fast as you can but covering as much as ground as you can with each push-off as you can.

But definitely you should ask the track coach. And yes the optimum place for your foot to land is on the front of your foot (the balls of your feet, under your toes) but you shouldn't be paying attention to that when your'e runnig./
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Yea, but isn't your foot supposed to land directly underneath of your center of balance?
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Get your hands on some dvd's of olympic races or catch some indoor track on tv right now, watch the pros and mimic their form.
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Hey! Thanks for the info, it answered pretty much everything. When I'm at weight lifting there's this trackstar that goes, I'll watch his technique because he's really fast! But yah, thanks for the site man!

James

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Don't think for a second that correct form will alone make you faster. Yes, it helps, but you need more. It's a lot like driving: a driver is only as fast as his car. Good skills will put him above those with identical cars, but he will get smoked by a faster car with even just an adequate driver. You'll still need to develop your legs for sprinting, if they're capable of being developed the way they need to be.
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That's true, I do squats, leg extensions, calf raises, and leg curls to build up my legs. I also do leg raises to build up my hip abductors(or w/e is in the inside of your legs) or hip flexors, one of the two. So yeah, I know that I need strong legs and I've been working them hard. Today was legs so I worked them today.
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I would think you need to do more actual running. Lifting weights all the time isn't going to miracously all of a sudden make you a better sprinter and have better form. With what you've been describing, where you feel as if you're sprinting awkwardly and your strides are too short, if you ran more and lifted less, that would probably help. The more you do anything, the more natural it becomes. THe more you practice sprinting and running, the more natural that will become, and your form will fix itself.

You're a lineman, too...so i would think you're muscular enough already.
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That will do about as much for you as buying a new pair of shoes. Run some hills, practice running on your toes, etc. etc. etc.
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I have been running on my toes a lot. I have a good size driveway and so I run to the mail box and back to try out different forms. But either one that I try I do run on my toes its just that I end up running on the outside of my foot. Is that bad or good?

James
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My knowledge of American football could be written on the back of a postage stamp so I have avoided replying to this post until now and I only do so since some of the replies are misleading, at least from the sprinting point of view.

The best advice that has been given so far is GET A COACH to look at your technique. We can go back and forwards here, give all sorts of advice and still never get to the root cause of your problems. The truth is without seeing you run WE ARE ALL JUST GUESSING. The track coach can at least give you the basics of good sprint technique in about 30 minutes then it's up to you to practice, practice, practice.
Practice makes permenent; sometimes even perfect.
In sprint training you are predominately training your alactic system, not the aerobic system and barely even the anareobic system so breathing pattens are secondary.
Watch a good standard 50 metre freestyle race. Swimmers take only one breath over the distance. It's the same in running/sprinting, you take a deep breath, build up internal pressure and release your breath over say 15/20/30 metres. This I imagine is the distance you would be running over in your football. Reaction time, short explosive power running.
True "form alone will not make you faster" but it is the first and MOST IMPORTANT thing in sprinting if not you are just repeating any bad habitsyou may have.
This is the job for your track coach to sort out !!!

WEIGHTS ARE IMPORTANT TOO, especially for sprinters but here you need weight/resistance exercises SPECIFIC to sprinting and football and programed as to where you are in your football season.
It's not just a matter of pushing weights and going through a list of exercises. Volume, load, variation, the speed at which you push the resistance, and rest all come into play.
Do you have a weights coach? All coaches, Track coach, Strength coach should work in together under the direction of the Football coach.

Finally, as 'robp' said earlier you run on the balls of your feet.
You DO NOT RUN ON YOUR TOES.
You come down on your forefoot and push up and off onto your toes.
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