GAINcast Episode 269: Force and sprinting (with Dan Cleather and Jon Goodwin)

Why are some athletes faster than others? And how do we make athletes faster? In their new book Dan Cleather and Jon Goodwin argue that the answer begins and ends with a consideration of force production. Both of them join this week’s podcast to discuss key drivers in sprint performance, what factors are modifiable, and how we often get distracted from what really matters.

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Jon Goodwin and Dan Cleather are co-authors of the book The Biomechanics of Sprinting: Force 2. Goodwin is currently the director of performance services for the Saudi Olympic Training Centre and previously worked at Fulham FC in the English Premier League and St. Mary’s University. Cleather is a professor and course lead of the Masters in strength and conditioning program at St. Mary’s University and previously worked at the English Institute of Sport.

Related resources

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

Key quotes and topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 2:45 – Goodwin and Cleather’s backgrounds
  • 7:00 – Understanding force and Newtonian mechanics: “We have these words that we use in everyday life and we assume that meaning is the same as what’s spit out by a device that says here’s the force. And the problem is that the calculations aren’t the same as what we think these words are.”
  • 9:30 – Kinematics vs. kinetics: “The kinematics is how the movement looks and kinetics is what’s causing changes in how that movement looks . . . What we need to do is work on the forces, but we can’t see those.”
  • 12:30 – Misunderstanding how to run faster: “Helping an individual running faster within their current capability is a totally different thing to enabling them to run faster.”
  • 15:30 – Air time.
  • 19:45 – Contact length: “We tend to put more importance into the things that we can measure. And my then coaching interpretation of that is like you can only coach what you can see. And those aren’t necessarily the things that are most interesting.”
  • 25:00 – Rhythm in sport: “In the S&C environment coaches generally don’t like you doing things that aren’t clearly developing something obviously relating to force.”
  • 31:00 – Force-velocity profiling.
  • 36:30 – Fighting misinformation.

Complete transcript

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