Sprint Starting Block Settings
When sprint athletes start using starting blocks the initial problem they and coaches experience is determining the correct settings for the front and rear foot blocks.
Position of foot blocks
Technically, the distance between the front block and the starting line should be approximately 55-60% of your leg length. The distance between blocks should be shin length, which is about 42-45% of total leg length.
A simpler and equally effective spacing is to start by placing front block two foot-lengths from the starting line and the rear block another foot length between the front and rear blocks. Spacing can be adjusted from there based on performance over the first 7 to 8 strides of the sprint start.
Many books recommend that the ideal angles of the legs in the "set" position in a sprint start using starting blocks are:
When in the set position, make sure that the front block is all the way down creating the smallest possible angle with the track. Ideally, block pedals should be at 30°. A 30° angle best utilizes the stretch shortening cycle, which means you will get the most power from the stretch reflex, but without increasing the amount of time you are pushing on the foot blocks. The problem is that most blocks can only be lowered to about 45°. Therefore it is important that both heels be pressed firmly against the back of the blocks.
Using these two knee angles (120°, 90°) and some athlete limb measurements it is, mathematically, possible to calculate the settings for the front and rear pads of the starting blocks.
The following measurements, with the athlete in the "set" position, will be required:
The reference for this page is:
The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page:
The following books provide more information related to this topic: