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In every race in athletics you need to be able to start. The start of your race could make the difference in getting a personal best or not, finishing in the top three or not.
The start of a race is more important in sprint races but it can make a difference in longer races too so making sure you start correctly is vital. Here we provide some top tips for athletes to consider when looking to improve the start of a race.
Tip #1 – Get the basics right first
Whatever race you are competing in getting the basics of the start right is key. If you are doing an standing start then make sure you position your feet and arms in the right place. We run and walk using our opposite arm and leg swinging so when you start make sure you have the opposite arm forward to your foot. So if you have your right foot forward you put your left arm forward and right arm back. This position will be make sure you are running correctly from the start; if you start with the same arm and leg forward your brain will change it automatically on your first couple of strides but this will result in a slight delay to get you in the correct running position, this delay could make a difference in your final result.
Tip #2 – Keep things simple
This is very similar to the first tip but make sure you keep things simple when it comes to starting a race. If you are sprinter competing in the 100m, 200m or 400m don’t think you have to use starting blocks straight away. It is better to master a crouch sprint start without starting blocks before moving to using starting blocks. Young athletes should always wait until they are strong enough and have the correct technique to push out from starting blocks.
Tip #3 – Work on your reactions
Working on your reactions will help you start faster than other athletes and the faster you can start the better chance you have of a successful end to your race. There are lots of simple and fun ways to improve your reactions and you don’t event need to leave your house. Have a read of our article on Improving Reaction Time using just a £1 coin. Other ways includes reaction starts and moving on the sound of a signal.
Tip #4 – Visualise your perfect start
Before your race visualise your perfect start to a race, imagine how it feels to start well and get out in front. Replay this start over and over so it becomes normal. Think about the whole process from getting to the start and making your first stride in a race. The more you do this the more your brain and body reacts better to the situation.
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