How To Improve Your 4×100 Meter Relay “Differential”

Posted by Latif Thomas

Want to improve your 4×100 meter relay times, consistency, and/or team culture?

Shoot… what sprints coach doesn’t?

No other event in track and field has the power to elicit the extremes of highs and lows… season to season… meet to meet… exchange to exchange… practice to practice… like the 4×100 meter relay.

Anyone who isn’t a highly competitive sprints coach cannot possibly understand how seriously (and personally) we all take that event.

Maybe I’m leaning in too hard here, but when my 4×100 meter relay sucks at a meet or multiple meets, I take it as a personal failure – and I’ve experienced no shortage of personal failures.

A couple years ago my girl’s 4×100 meter relay was undefeated and she was a heavy favorite going into the State Championship.

But at the final exchange in that meet, while winning by a solid 10m, my 14 year old, #3, fell down.

We did not finish.

Let’s hope the audio from the recording of that race never gets out. I didn’t have nice things to say about their bum of a coach.

On the other hand –

I once coached a team that was not only undefeated in the state that spring, they broke every meet record on the books along the way.

They won the All State Title for the second year in a row (despite graduating half the group from the previous season) and broke the All-Time State Record. In fact, a decade later, they’re still the only team to ever break 48 seconds.


(Press play for video proof …just turn the sound down if you don’t like swear words.)


Well, that was sweet!

Most people I know take a ‘feast or famine’ approach to the 4×100 meter relay.

There are no ‘safe’ hand offs. And since I haven’t coached the types of populations where I can rely on talent to overcome poor execution, I’m *constantly* looking for any tips, techniques, strategies, drills, and/or workouts that will help me shed time and get a bigger differential between our overall time and the sum of 4 legs’ personal bests.

If we want a successful season, we *must* out-execute the more talented teams.

Generally, it’s considered a successful group if you can get your differential in the 2.0 – 2.5 second range.

The biggest differential I’ve had is 3.64 seconds. We ran 49.02 going 13.03 to 13.08 to 13.09 to 13.46.

Yes, I anchored my 13.4 freshman. I didn’t really have a choice. But that was a school record, and good for 2nd place at the New England Championships.

Not my fastest group, but probably the one I’m most proud of because going 49 flat without a sub 13 leg required big time focus and execution in what were the most important moments of the season.

There are a lot of combinations of tweaks and changes you can make to level up your 4×100 meter relay

Today I want to offer you an opportunity to do just that…

It’s a seminar presentation given by Gabe Sanders (Boston University Director of T&F / Cross Country) called ‘Principles & Practices of the 4x100m Relay’.

In it, he breaks down every facet of improving the relay – hand offs, athlete placement, lane manipulation, psychology, program design… and more.

As an added bonus, Gabe has agreed to answer your questions about the 4×100 meter relay.

Whether you’re wrestling with some late season changes or just want to run some ideas by him, post your questions and he’ll give you a detailed response.

The cost of this program is $37, but when you order using the link on this page, you’ll get almost 50% off and pay only $19.

A consistently successful 4×100 meter relay is the lifeblood of any successful sprints program. Gabe Sanders’ ‘Principles & Practices of the 4x100m Relay’ is a content rich, but economically priced weapon to add to your sprints training armory.

Order now and get immediate streaming access and lifetime Q&A support.

Good luck!

Latif Thomas
Owner – Complete Track and Field
Co-Director – Complete Track and Field Clinic

USATF Level II (Sprints, Hurdles, & Relays)
USTFCCCA Event Specialist (Sprints, Hurdles, & Relays)
USTFCCCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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