What is the Drive Phase in Sprinting? PART 2

What is the Drive Phase in Sprinting? PART 2.

What is the Drive Phase in Sprinting?  PART 2

In this Part 2, I discuss How to work on shin angles.

If you want to develop a more effective push then you have to work on getting better which means lower shin angles and going from one angle to the next faster. This will increase the duration of your push without increasing your ground contact time. It is all about the quality of the push.

A brief recap of part 1, Drive phase.

In summary the initial push or acceleration phase out the blocks to about 3 to 5 steps afterward is the drive phase. This initial push or acceleration phase is characterize by a combination of low shin angles, a set and a push shin angle.

The set angle is the set position when in the blocks and the push angle is the angle of the shin when the knee stops moving downwards. After you leave the blocks the shin angle at toe touch down replaces the set shin angle and then the push angle is still the angle of the shin when knee stops moving downward. A lot of theorist look at only the set shin angle in the blocks or the shin angle at toe touch down as the push point, or the shin angle at triple extension the infamous 45 degrees, and those are what most athletes work on during the block start and as they try and practice pushing down the track.


The most important angle is the shin push angle. This is when the body is in the best position to push effectively. As seen above the weight is on the toes, the knee has stopped traveling downward, the hip is over the knee. The rear leg knee is either side by side or slightly to the rear of the push leg and the one arm is hanging down. This is a balance and stable position to push from. The push involves maximum glute activation for the longest possible duration which drive the hips horizontally down the track.

Why it is critical to develop this phase? It will have the biggest influence on your sprint mechanics and top end speed.

This is where your top end speed is truly developed. You have some athletes that run great 60m but not so great 100m. You also have those athletes that get out fast in a race because they are getting early acceleration from leg speed or turnover which is not sustainable for 100m and does not create very good impulse. You often see these athlete get passed in the latter part of the race as you see their leg speed slows down. That athlete fits the model of you can’t accelerate past so many meters theory.

So how do we work on this push during the this drive or initial acceleration phase of sprinting?

The issue is getting into optimal body position to push effectively.


To create high Impulse, some people use sleds and get the low shin angles such as illustrated. This photo demonstrate the low shin angles at full extension. The one where we draw the line from heel to to head and go cool and then determine that is pushing.


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