The Best Sprinters are Musicians

Athletes that have a musical ear are typically the fastest. If an athlete can hear a sound and turn it into a beat or rhythm, they will be exceptional during the initial stages of acceleration. If you watch a novice accelerate, they take too many steps during acceleration, causing them to waste precious energy. An elite level sprinter limits the number of steps taken, making his/her acceleration more efficient. Let’s take this a step further...

During acceleration, an athlete should listen to how their steps sound. Quality sounding acceleration involves a slow to fast rhythm, whereas poor acceleration involves a fast to fast rhythm. If you lengthen out and get more hip extension, your step intervals will be longer, thus in turn making your rhythm slow to fast.

Check out this example:

Elite:

I I I I I I I I I I IIIII

Novice:

I I IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

As you can see, acceleration by an elite level athlete consists of less steps and a slow to fast rhythm. The opposite can be said for the novice, who is taking too many steps and is not covering ground well in the initial stages. Still don’t get it? Try clapping at a pace that’s slow to fast. That’s how your acceleration should sound. Implementing this concept of auditory feedback can be used to help teach the basics of acceleration, which will in turn create a faster athlete and a better “musician”.