Winning with Speed

John Brumund-Smith Clinics, Coaching Blogs, Illinois HS Cross Country, Opinion Leave a Comment

I meant to publish this article over two months ago.  Then something happened.  Track started.  The track season and swim season overlap by three weeks, so I was coaching Swimming from 3:30-5:30pm, then heading over to Track from 5:30-7:30pm every night.  Needless to say, I was short on time.  So without further ado, here is the article I meant to publish two months ago.

On Friday, February 5th, I spoke at the WISTCA Clinic in Madison, WI.  This was my tenth straight year attending the WISTCA Clinic, but my first time speaking.  Like many of you, I love clinics.  In December I went to the Track-Football Activation Consortium and filled up almost a dozen pages of notes.  It helped shape my coaching philosophy.  In past years, I have been to the ITCCCA Clinic, the Bureau Valley Clinic, and many others in a variety of different states.

Winning with Speed

My speech was titled Winning with Speed – Successful training strategies for the 100m Dash and 200m Dash. You can access my PowerPoint for the speech in the link above.  Within the speech, there are also links to various pages with more information.

My influences for the speech are listed on the second page of the PowerPoint.  I was personally coached by Chip Schneider at UW-Eau Claire, and he was the first person to show me the ropes of coaching.  The other three I have all seen speak at previous clinics.  If Tony Holler ever decides to sue me for stealing his stuff, he will have an airtight case. A lot of the quotes and ideas in my presentation came directly from his own quotes and ideas he shared at the Track-Football Activation Consortium.

Several times during my speech, I had to tell the crowd that what I was saying might seem radical.  No jogging?  No static stretching?  The best form drill is sprinting?  The base for speed is speed? “In shape” is a generally meaningless expression?  Sprinters need to be coordinated even if they are only running in a straight line?

I remember back in 1999, a coach showed me how to do dynamic stretching instead of static stretching before a workout.  I thought he was crazy.  After three days, I was craving a static stretch.  My legs were sore.  I caved.  As soon as I lifted my knee up, grabbed my foot, and stretched my quad, it felt like everybody endorphin in my body was released at the same time.  I swore I would never listen to anybody ever again who told me not to do static stretching. For another ten years, I static stretched before every workout and had my athletes do the same.  Every year, I thought about making the switch to dynamic stretching.  I kept reading about the negative effects of static stretching; I did not listen.  Then, finally, I tried out a routine of just dynamic stretching.  That whole first practice, I was worried about pulled hamstrings and pulled quads.  Nothing happened.  That coach was correct, of course, though it took me ten years to realize it.  Since that day, I have not had my athletes do any static stretching before running.

So what is my point?  I learned something from another coach.  That is exactly the point of these clinics.  You go to learn from your colleagues because you do not know everything.  I have coached under people before who never go to clinics.  One recent coach practically laughed at me when I asked which clinics to attend.  Some coaches think they already know everything.

If you have any questions about the speech, feel free to e-mail me at  You can follow Lake Forest High School Track & Field on Twitter at @LFHStrack.



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