HMMR Podcast Episode 77: Fast Kids (with Joe McNab)

Top high school sprint coach Joe McNab has been producing some of the country’s best sprinters and relays for decades at Notre Dame High School. With beginners the process has to be simple and on this episode he walks us through his core speed principles, how he built a culture of speed, and his experience working with field sports.

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McNab knows how to coach speed and has established himself California’s premier prep sprint coach after coaching 4 state 100-meter champions, 2 state 200-meter champions, 2 state relay champions, 10 CIF Southern Section team titles and 1 state team title. To start out with, he keeps things simple for beginners:

Teach them speed first; get them in shape after. Click To Tweet You can drill people to death, but you're often just drilling bad technique. Click To Tweet Common errors for beginning sprinters: sinking, not running straight & lack of strength for positions. Click To Tweet


The team culture also plays a role in developing speed. Athletes are grouped by their level, and peer coaching is utilized within group to help improve technical ability amongst such a large group.

We group our athletes by how fast they are; it's survival of the fittest. Click To Tweet Always compete: it develops culture and attitude for success. Click To Tweet

McNab also serve as defensive coordination for the Notre Dame football team and gave some advice on training for speed in field sports:

Being fast on the field is about speed + instincts. Being sure of yourself will make you faster. Click To Tweet

For more on this topic, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further Reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • As announced on our podcast, don’t miss out on our upcoming seminar on athletic development in Los Angeles on December 17. It will provide a hand on look at the theory and practice of athletic development from the ground up. Sign up early to get a discount. Learn more and sign up here.
  • Want to get more sports science updates from Craig? Become a HMMR Plus member and get exclusive access to his Sports Science Monthly where he breaks down the latest research from sports science from an athlete’s and coach’s perspective. Plus members also get access to additional benefits like webinars, online meetups, articles, and more.
  • We also discussed speed, sprinting technique, and its role in team sports with Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo on Episode 72.
  • The GAINcast has had several episodes on speed, including last week’s GAINcast 39 on teaching speed to beginners. Also check out GAINcast 16 on speed and GAINcast 21 on the mechanics of linear speed with Professor Ken Clark
  • McNab mentioned the Mach drills on the podcast. For more about them, read Vern’s detailed article about them from last year.
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