Pay attention to the take-off’s – the first step!

Think of running as an individual activity, and then consider running as a part of a sport. The two are fundamentally different in terms of the demands placed on the body, such as push-off and stance phases, changes of direction, deceleration, sudden stops, and the need to optimize muscle strength to generate maximum power in the least amount of time. Correct?

In field sports, a player typically runs for short distances of 5 to 15 meters. Unlike 100m sprinters who reach their peak speed at around 25 meters, in field sports, the first step itself can make a significant difference in speed and performance.

A biomechanically correct take off can provide an edge over others as soon as the player takes their second step. This can result in a significant lead over other players, even in short distances. Therefore, it is crucial for field sport players to work on their take off to maximize their speed and performance.

In addition to gaining a speed edge, a biomechanically correct take off also helps to safeguard against injuries. If you look at the pictures of the first and second step, the only player who won’t get injured is the one whose take off is correct

When comparing running as an individual sport to running in a team sport, there are some fundamental differences to consider. In team sports like cricket, hockey, and football, athletes need to be able to push off, change direction, decelerate, make sudden breaks, and optimize their muscle strength to generate maximum power in the least amount of time.

These are all qualities that are necessary for an athlete to be considered ‘athletic’ in their respective sport. However, it’s important to note that proper running biomechanics are still crucial for success.

Maximizing muscle output can only be achieved if we run and take off with proper mechanics, given any postural alignment in a given situation. Therefore, while running may not be the primary focus of training for athletes in team sports, it is still an essential component. This small write-up is intended to highlight the nuances of running in a sport versus running as an individual sport.

Upon watching this video, I realized that the dog is quadrupedal, unlike humans who are bipedal, which allows them to stop immediately and have more control over their movement. They can stop much faster since they are on all fours. Have you ever noticed this before? I certainly didn’t!

In contrast, as humans, we have to make several adjustments to stop ourselves, which is why training is essential to teach our bodies what is required in our respective sports.

This video is a great way to learn about the nuances of running in sports, and I highly recommend watching it all the way through. As you’ll see, I had to make a lot of adjustments to keep up with my running partner.

Sports Scientist