Why even bother doing that drill?

Posted by Latif Thomas



Last week, I shared a new (to me) drill for teaching acceleration.

However, since the athletes in the video displayed poor posture, poor mechanics (or both), there was some disagreement about the viability of the drill.

And that brings us to an important teachable moment:

You cannot separate reality from the observer.

I may think a drill is great. You may think it is terrible.

Who’s right? We’re both right. And we’re both wrong. All at the same time. Because you cannot separate reality from the observer.

Some people think you should never do sled pulls with more than 20% of body weight because heavier weights do not equate specifically to the mechanics and ground contacts of sprinting on the track. Other people love heavy sled  pulls because it specifically teaches sprinters how to push and what it feels like to push ‘through the post’.

Long bounding drill

Long bounding drill

Some people don’t like doing long bounding with sprinters because the ground contact times are not specific to top end speed. Some people love doing long bounding with sprinters because it improves amortization and teaches force application.

Who’s right? Everybody. Nobody. All at the same time.

My purpose for using the Cusano Drill was to teach low heel recovery and punching of the swing leg knee so athletes don’t immediately start overstriding. My athletes are uncomfortable with their center of mass being in front of them so they immediately cast the lower leg out during acceleration and brace for landing instead of driving through the ground and pushing themselves vertical. So this drill helps them get more comfortable with that feeling, even if other elements of it are a hot mess. If that is our focus, I’m not concerned with what else goes wrong. Because no matter what drill or workout you’re doing, most kids are doing it mostly wrong. Kids get better with practice if they understand the overall goal of training.

So as long as you can justify what you’re doing as specifically addressing some component of biomotor,  postural , mechanical and/or energy system development, the drill doesn’t have to be perfect to have value.

If you take that approach to your practices I think you’ll get consistently better results from your athletes and be less frustrated when they can’t do the whole thing right. Because they probably never will.

– Latif Thomas



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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