Track: "Crack Drill" Develops Knee Lift and Leg Drive From the Blocks

Dick Moss, Editor

Three factors that have been identified as important in determining a good start from the blocks are high knee lift, an explosive backwards drive of the legs, and an elastic action of the feet and ankles against the track—almost like that of a plyometric bound or depth jump rebound.

Here's a drill that focuses on these three elements of starting block technique.

Crack Drill
Your students perform a regular start from the blocks, but focus on two particular aspects of the technique:

  1. They drive the knee of the back leg (the leg that's in the back block)  forward  and as high as possible. Their body should be at about a 50-60 degree angle from the ground and they should attempt to touch their chest with their thigh.
  2. They pause momentarily, trying to hold their thigh close to their chest, then drive the leg down and back as hard as possible—striking the ground with an active foot-plant, almost as if they are breaking an egg.
  3. As this leg is driving back against the track, their opposite leg drives forward. They accelerate forward as fast as possible, attempting to keep the contact between their feet and track as bouncy and powerful as possible.

The momentary pause that occurs after the back knee is driven forward/upward forces your athletes to focus on high knee lift, and allows this leg to push backward against the track with greater than normal force. The coaching cue “crack an egg” will give your students the feeling of using an “elastic” rebound of the ankle and foot against the track.

1. Chris Husbands, Sprinting: Training, Techniques and Improving Performance (Crowood Sports Guides) [Kindle Edition], Cronwood, 2013.
2. Remi Korchemny, “A new concept for sprint start and acceleration training.”  New Studies in Athletics, 7:4, 1992 pg. 65.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2022, Physical Education,

Bookmark and Share

Printer-Friendly Format