The Start Position

Posted by Tony Veney

The Start Position
By Tony Veney

We’re going to get Adonis to stand in front of the start line. In front of the start line facing this direction and I’m going to want him to take two nice high double knee jumps to get himself ready, go ahead.  This is really exploding the legs and getting them very dynamic.  Now he’s going to put his hands down on the track and he’s going to back his way into the blocks, getting those block pedals set.  You are going to notice that in this position, he’s going to bring his fingers right up to the start lines and now he wants to bring his hands shoulder width apart, so now his hands are going to come right to here and right to here.

If you notice that as soon as he brought his hands closer, it lifted his chest up another two inches, now his chest is this much further away from the track, which means he doesn’t have to lift his chest as high in acceleration.  He’s going to bring his shoulders right up to the start line.  A good coaching cue is the front toe should be mid-calf on the opposite leg, so now when Adonis comes into the set position, once I give him the set call, he’s going to come and he’s going to push straight up from his left side, most of the weight is going to be centralized on his left pushing foot.  And as he comes up into the set position, both of his heels are going to press and touch the back block, set.  Both heels pressing, he needs to really get more pressure here and more pressure here and then I’m going to give him a nice call.  He’s got some really nice parallel.

Here’s another coaching cue, parallel shinbones.  If one shinbone is higher than the other or lower than the other, you’ve got a balance problem.  Adonis is really doing a good job staying in his position, so we want to see this shinbone and this shin bone parallel.  And in just a moment, I’m going to give him the go and he’s going to give me a nice acceleration and go.  Nice push off the block, very good.

All right, let’s get Nick out of the blocks here.  Okay, Nick, step in front of that start line.  Give me two double knee hops.  Go ahead, touch the track and back in.  Very nicely, he added a nice little stretch there at the end.  Keep those hands closer together.  All right, bring that shoulder up to the start line a little bit so you are right in this position.  Also, you can’t see it from that angle, but I can see it very, very well.  Nick is doing a really good job of prepping his feet. He’s got the toe spikes of his spike shoe on the track.  He’s got the toe spike here on the track.  Now what he’s doing is, he’s helping his shoe be more explosive and more powerful because now he’s got those toe spikes digging into the rubber and he’s going to give himself a nice explosive, acceleration off the line.

He’s going to come into a nice set position when I give him the call.  Set.  He’s going to bring his hips up just a little bit higher, right to that position, see, again, we’ve got nice parallel shins, he’s got to squeeze that heel into the block pedal and go.  Very nice acceleration.  One of the things I saw that when Nick accelerated, he took his right hand and he brought it right to here.  Okay, we didn’t get the big pop here. So, we want to make sure that we get that nice acceleration, that nice explosiveness out of the blocks.

For your hurdlers – don’t miss Tony Veney’s Developing the High School Sprint Hurdler


Tony Veney is one of the most respected individuals in track and field. He has over 35 years of track and field coaching and teaching experience, including stints on the staffs at the University of Oregon, Portland State, UCLA, and currently Ventura College. During his extensive career, he has coached numerous all-conference and All-American track and field athletes. Coach Veney has experienced success coaching youth, collegiate, and elite sprinters and hurdlers. A 1976 graduate of UCLA, he was the 800 meter record holder for the Bruins and was a member of two NCAA outdoor track and field championship teams. Veney is a USATF level I-II-III instructor, with a Master of Coaching Certificate. From 1987 to 2000, Coach Veney was a regional and national Sprint Development Coordinator for USATF.

Tony Veney - Tony Veney is entering his ninth season at the helm of the Pirates' men's and women's track and field teams, his 10th at Ventura College. He brings over 40 years of extensive track and field coaching and teaching experience from all levels of competition, and is a nationally certified instructor and lecturer. In the fall of 2017, Veney was awarded the Fred Wilt Coach/Educator of the Year Award by USA Track & Field. Coach Veney is a USATF Level I-II-III instructor with a master of coaching certificate. He is a regular speaker at national track and field clinics, and has produced and published several videos and books related to the specialized areas of sprints and hurdles. Veney is a 1976 graduate of UCLA with a degree in History. He was the former 800 meter record holder for the Bruins, and was a member of two NCAA outdoor track and field championship teams. He received his Master's Degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University.

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