Sprint training is a multi phase training process. All phases of training must be addresses to produce optimal results.
The basic formula for a faster athlete is:
Power=(Mass x Acceleration) x (^Distance/^Time) or:
small mass (lighter body weight)
big force (stronger body)
all body parts going in the right direction
all components of the body firing in a short amount of time
The less the athlete weighs the faster he/she is going to be. The bigger the athlete the stronger they have to be to produce more force.
It is a fact that 200 pound male athlete that squats 400 pounds is going to be faster than a 200 pound athlete that squats 200 pounds. Period. There is a reason world class sprinters (male and female) have muscles. The stronger/more powerful and lighter the athlete is, the faster they will be.
During sprinting the Ground reaction force is 5 times body-weight! Ground reactive force is the force the body exerts on the ground. Muscle forces, or the force due to the action of muscles can be up to 7 times body-weight! So for a 200 pound football player that can be upwards of 1400 pounds of stress in the muscles in the body during a sprint. All the ladder drills in the world alone aren’t going to prepare you adequately for these kinds of forces
All Body parts going in the right direction
Sprint mechanics. Broken into Back-side and Front-side mechanics, it is the ability to properly position your torso, arms and legs to produce the proper stride length as well full use of all of the power being produced by the body. The key here is the ability to efficiently use all the force produced by the athlete to propel them forward.
All components of the body firing in a short amount of time
Better sprinters have shorter ground contact times.
World class sprint coach Charlie Francis was quoted as saying, “To go fast you need more force, the more force you apply to the ground the greater the displacement.”
Bottom line: Sprint mechanics play a part, but ultimately a lighter+stronger+ ground reactive athlete is going to be faster on the field. By far the most trainable aspect of sprint training is to increase the athlete’s strength and power levels!