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On your marks, set, fly ...

A proper start can make the difference between winning or losing a sprint race, where success is often measured in split seconds. At the on your marks call, athlete gets comfortable in the blocks, then is motionless, breathing steadily

In the starting blocks

At set command, athlete inhales and holds breath, becoming like a coiled spring; proper set position is crucial to a powerful start

Heart of the start

At the sound of the gun, athlete explodes into action legs pushing against the blocks, arms working to counterbalance the force of the legs

Pushing off

Body is inclined for first 5-6 m, becomes fully upright by 40 m

Hands just behind the line; thumb, other fingers form a V

Weight rests equally on rear knee, hands

Back, head form straight line

Forward leg extends forcefully

Feet in contact with the Shoulders rotated forward, 3-4 in. (7-8 cm) blocks ahead of hands

Source: Coaching Track & Field Successfully by Mark Guthrie, Fundamentals of Track and Field by Gerry Carr, Track and Field magazine

2012 MCT