One of the reasons I have made a commitment to www.charliefrancis.com was my belief that building more knowledgeable coaches will always be a worthwhile goal.
Here is a recent letter I received which I wanted to share.
Check out the latest and last book in the Key Concept series now. Fundamental Guidelines for Building a Champion Sprinter book 7.
Enjoy, best, Angé
I'm the Strength Coach at “X” High School in “A Place” in Nebraska. Yes ma'am, I have both Speed Trap and CFT Manual. I'm 53 years old and I've been a Strength Coach for 30 years, mostly part-time but the last two years I've been the full time Head Strength Coach for all sports. I've experimented and researched everything I can get my hands on but Coach Francis's work speaks for its-self and I would like to understand his philosophy and methodology on a deeper level. I don't Coach any other sports, I'm solely responsible for the weight training but I would like to start implemented speed work, change of direction, med balls and plyos to ensure a more balanced athlete.
Thank you for your time,
“Signed self proclaimed fan of charliefrancis.com material”
Physical Education Teacher
“X” High School
Head Strength Coach
CSCS, USAW -2
How to successfully manage muscle tightness for Sprinting
ATHLETE CHARLIE FRANCIS ENDED HIS CAREER EARLY DUE TO CONSTANT INJURIES BECAUSE OF TIGHTNESS. FRANCIS IS WEARING #412
A certain amount of muscle tightness for sprinters or any athlete is normal. Hamstring tightness for sprinting left unchecked over time will lead to hamstring pulls and other injuries that are time consuming to recover from and prevent you from making the most of your goals. Understanding the difference between normal tightness and having chronic tightness in one area of your body is the first step to managing tightness. Managing muscle tightness for sprinting will help you train safely, avoid injuries and make the most of your training efforts at practice as well as in competition. Let’s look at the ways we can avoid muscle tightness for sprinting and avoid issues that might become chronic and prevent us from success regardless of our sport.
ACHIEVING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF WORK AND REST IN TRAINING
It is not easy to know exactly what combination of work and rest is needed to avoid or manage muscle tightness for speed training. A certain amount of muscle tightness is normal but chronically tight hamstrings or any amount of tightness routinely occurring is not considered optimal. Making sure you have a training program that has a sound methodology from a coach you trust is a good start. Gaining more knowledge about training from both coaches and athletes who have achieved success will help you navigate how to train effectively and safely.
Two books I often recommend for athletes, coaches and parents are Speed Trap and The Charlie Francis Training Manual. Both books are enjoyable, easy reads with a wealth of information based on world-class results in sprinting.
ROUTINELY AND ACTIVELY RECOVERING WORKED MUSCLES
Actively regenerate your worked muscles with massage, water therapy, acupuncture and EMS as often as possible. Training fresh muscles will bring you rewarding results. If you are routinely training overused and over worked muscles you may not be enjoying the results you expect. Not regenerating enough or routinely may be the reason why your results in training and competition are disappointing. Practice active regeneration every day. Find ways to administer active regeneration on your own as well as combining therapy from a trained therapist you trust.
To understand the role recovery plays in training take a look at Super compensation and Recovery here.
SHIFTING YOUR NUTRITION TO LOW INFLAMMATION DIET
It’s not uncommon for athletes including sprinters to disregard eating nutrient rich balanced diets. The high volume of calories burned in training for many athletes makes the idea of measuring foods for their performance qualities a lower priority without an understanding much about consequences. Foods that create inflammation in the body might differ for each individual. A simple list of inflammatory foods includes alcohol, sugary foods like cake, candies and hard to digest meats such as red meats and pork. Refined, processed foods are also high in inflammatory properties. This is not to say you should not eat these foods but limiting your daily consumption will help you improve your nutrition and maximize your training opportunities.
ADD WATER INTO YOUR LIFE
Drink it , soak in it, swim in it and train in it. Water has healing, cleansing and regenerating properties and when it comes to muscle tightness using water in any way or all ways possible will be helpful. Insure you drink enough water each day by setting up the amount of water you need in your kitchen or take it with you water bottles. Soaking in Epson salt baths loosens tight muscles and helps reset the nervous system and is easy for almost anyone to perform at home.
KEEP YOUR MUSCLES WARM AND DRY
Prevention of muscle tightness begins with keeping your muscles warm and dry as much as possible. Wearing layers of clothes allows you with the option to remove clothing once your training progresses. Depending on your climate the idea of protecting your muscles from extreme hot or cold applies.
PRACTICE ROUTINE WARM-UP WITH LITTLE VARIATION FROM DAY TO DAY
Warming up should be the most routine thing you do in your training with subtle adjustments to add or take away parts depending on the intensity of the training on any given day. Warm ups need to be progressive, somewhat continuous and gradually elevating the intensity as time moves forward. Warm ups should be intentional and very low in intensity.
These are a few key ways you will be able to better manage muscle tightness for sprinting.
No matter what your athletic goals,learn the 10 Best things to know for your best competition day ever.
- Allow more than enough time to get to the track and warm up. The time you need to set aside includes the time it takes you to get to the location of the meet, the size of the meet and level of the competition. Always plan to add at least 15 minutes, preferably 30 minutes on top of your warm up just in case. The younger the athlete the more moderate the time needed but you still want to set yourself or your athlete up to succeed. Hope for the best but plan for the unexpected.
- Nothing special. Two words you need to learn, repeat and practice. Competition day is about repeating what you have already been practicing. Don’t make changes, forget about well meaning onlookers, put your blinders on and make the most of what you have already been doing in practice.
- The smaller the meet the more likely it may not run on time. This is not always the case but depending on the time of your event, begin to track the schedule of the track meet as soon as you are able so you can plan when your warm up begins.
- Don’t make changes or decisions about anything on competition day. Your job at the competition is to see how you are able to perform based on where you are at for this moment. Make an analysis after the competition or a few days after and preferably with your coach. After you have done this you can plan to decide if any change is needed.
- The most important night to have a proper sleep is the day before the night before your competition. It’s expected that your nerves might make sleeping tough but resting up the night before that ensures you don’t go into the competition without sleep.
- Preparing yourself as an athlete to be independent and self-reliant will empower you and train you to be responsible for yourself in case your coach is not able to be around during the competition. Routinely support from a coach or parent is great if you have it but some meets don’t allow it and sometimes it’s not always possible. It’s best to have a plan for competitions that includes the coach not being around.
- Don’t listen to anyone except your coach. If you are at a track meet and people are offering advice let them know to speak with your coach. If you are a coach it’s your job to teach your athlete to avoid listening to others or train them to direct questions away from them especially during a competition. People may mean well but competition is not the time to make changes or have discussions that might distract you from your event.
- Dress properly. Keep your equipment with you at all times. Layers provide the best warmth for your muscles. Plan for change of weather and pack everything you need but as pack as lightly as possible. If you need to travel for the competition take key things for your event on carry on.
- Take notes. Reflection of your process in training and in competition can be a powerful tool for improvement. It’s also a great to look back on how you progressed and compare your times and have a record of your accomplishments.
- Nerves contribute to performance and are a necessary bi product of preparing to compete. Routines, habits and replication of what you do in practice help you prioritize your energy for performance.
Set yourself up to succeed, have fun while doing it and Get out there and follow the 10 best things to know for the best Competition you can have.