Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Spike: or, Victoria College Review September 1921

Athletic Training

page 35

Athletic Training

Every student should remember that one of the most important functions of University year is the inter-'Varsity tournament hold every Easter. Our College has for the last three years won the Athletic Shield, the most important contest at this tournament, and it should be the wish of every student to have the College put up a record next year by winning the Athletic shield for the fourth successive year. This has never yet been accomplished.

If the College is to be victorious at Auckland next year, it is necessary for every, man in the College to specialise in some particular event, and to train assiduously during the coming vacation.

It may be said that the College will have the same men who won the Shield at Christchurch, as representatives for next Easter. In this connection it should be noted that there are only three athletes who have competed in all three tournaments held since the war.

In connection with the compilation of this article, I wish to tender thanks to Messrs J. McHolm, H E. Wilson, J, H. R. Wilton, and E. G. Sutherland, who have rendered invaluable assistance.

Sprinting.—On commencing training for either the 100 yards or 220 yards sprint, it is advisable to run quietly over from 200 to 300 yards several times before doing any hard work at all. This procedure should be followed for about three evenings, after which the runner, should commence striding over 150 to 250 yards. It is most essential for a runner to make the most of his stride and at all times to increase its Length. For example, if a runner who takes forty strides in running 100 yards increases his stride by two inches he will cover the distance in thirty-nine strides.

After the end of the first week's training, the following course extending over severalweeks is recommended :—

Every night during the second week the following order should be observed:
1.—A run of aboul 350 yards at half pace.
2.—A good stride over 250 yards.
3.—About half a dozen short "breaks" (commonly called "starts") of not more than 20 yards.
4.—A good hard sprint of not more than 40 yards.

At the commencement of training, continual practice in starting is imperative and it is impossible to do too much. Never let yourself get cold after the sprint and always keep moving. Do any exercises that will keep the muscles supple, particularly any exercises that strengthen the muscles of the abdomen as these play a very important part in running.

During the third, fourth, and fifth weeks the evening's training should begin with a 440 yards at good three-quarter pace, making good use of the stride. This is in order to improve breathing and is essential. Then continue the course mentioned above, increasing the length of the sprint gradually.

The training for the sixth week should include 50 to 75 yards dashes at full speed, but not more than two per night.

During the seventh week, the distance of the sprints should be increased to 80 or 85yards if the runner is training for the 100yards, and to about 180 or 200 yards for the 220 yards dash.

At least once every two nights during the eighth week, the full distance at full speed should be attempted, while by the ninth week the runner should be quite fit, and should run the whole distance at full speed al least once each evening.

The essential points to remember in sprinting are: (1) striding, (2) starting, and (3) finishing. With regard to finishing a race, no runner should slacken up until the taps is breasted—many a race is won on the tape.

440 Yards.—This race should be run in two bursts or sprints, the first being for the first 100 yards, after which distance a Long swinging stride should be used so that the runner may conserve his energy until the 300 yards mark is reached when the second burst commences. This burst, which should of course be at full Speed, should be carried to the tape. It will only be after careful and consistent training of not less than eight weeks that a runner will be in form to race over what is considered: one of the most, if not the most, gruelling of track races.

As a good deal of the preparation consists in practising the Long swinging stride that carries the runner at almost full speed, yet does not exert him to the utmost, it is necessary to ensure success that this stride should be cultivated and particular attention paid to it.

page 36

When possible, for training purposes, select a straight course of from 200 to 300 yards and run at half speed, paying attention to arm and leg action and poise.

Lift the knee to form a right angle with the hip, at the same time throwing the foot well out in front and pointing the toes so that none of the stride is lost. Endeavour to develop an even action. Swing the arms loosely from the shoulders with elbows slightly bent, the hand passing cross in front yet away from the body. The head should be thrust slightly forward while the chest must not at any time be cramped, allowing full freedom for the action of the heart and lungs.

Walking is a valuable adjunct to track training, and while taking this form of exercise. deep breathing should be practise The quarter-miler should only do slow work for the first week, his daily run being to jog half a mile to build up muscle and power to endure.

The second week, by which time he should be in condition to commence more serious training, should follow a course of training similar to the following :—
  • Monday : Run 600 yards at half-speed, sprinting over the last 40yards; after a few minutes rest stride 200 to 300 yards.
  • Tuesday : Run 880 yards, the first 200 at three-quarter speed finishing at half speed: again, after a rest, stride 200 yards Three or four breaks should conclude this evening's training.
  • Wednesday : Run 300 yards at three-quarter pace, sprinting the last 40 yards. Striding and starting as on the previous night.
  • Thursday : Jog 600 yards; then striding and starting as above.
  • Friday : Stride 200 yards. Then run 440 yards at half-speed, sprinting over the last 60 yards. The starts must not be forgotten.
  • Saturday : Run 440 yards, the first 120 yards at full-speed, finishing at half-speed. Then striding and starting should conclude the week's training.

After the fourth week the runner may depart from the above schedule and concentrate on developing pace, running 100 yards at full-speed, 220 yards at full and half-speed, and occasionally (but not more than once a week) 440yards trials at full-speed. At this stage an occasional run over 300 yards at full-speed should help in fit the runner to run a good race over the full distance.

Hurdling.—For the first three weeks exactly the same procedure as in sprinting should be followed. It should be clearly understood that no hurdles are to be used during the above period as one has to be fairly fit before training for them properly.

One hurdle may be used during the fourth week, three the fifth week, and five the sixth week. Never at any time use more than five hurdles unless for some special reason as, for instance, to time yourself over the full distance. It is not advisable to do this very often, certainly not before you have been training for at least six weeks.

It is essential that the distance from the start to the first hurdle be covered at full speed. Keep low when jumping and at the same time lean forward. There should be no slackening up in the speed between the various hurdles.

Long Jump.—The first week's training for this event should be the same as that for the sprints. Then measure your distance from the board so that you can strike it with your taking off foot while running at full speed. Many jumpers advise starting from the crouched position as in starting for the hundred yards sprint. After leaving the board jump high in the air and draw the feet up well. Do not jump too much in one evening as you are apt to jarr yourself if too much is done while not absolutely fit.

High Jumping.—In this event the jumper must have that natural spring which is the special gift of all good high jumpers; after assuring himself that he has this gift, the jumper must train systematically and assiduously.

Before commencing training the would-be high-jumper must see that he has the proper kind of jumping shoes. Those should be made to measure to ensure a perfect fit, and should have six long spikes in the sole and two a little shorter in the heel.

If the athlete is training for this event alone, five or ever four nights a week is sufficient, and then he should devote his attention to improving his style. While on the track, a little sprinting will help to tone up the muscles of the legs, but on no account should long distance running be indulged in. The young jumper should not hold himself down to any particular style until he has sought the advice of someone qualified to judge.

page 37

Apart from the track, good training can be had in a gymnasium or at home in the form of Swedish exercises, especially doing those which strengthen the abdominal, thigh and leg muscles and, most important of all, the instep.

Massaging and rubbing down as part of the training is beneficial. A thorough massaging of the legs and abdomen immediately before a competition will be found of great benefit as it loosens up the muscles and does not give them time to "harden up." The jumper should take every precaution not to get cold when waiting for his turn and. should not leave the dressing-room until the competition is about to start.

Before jumping the competitor should walk slowly up to the bar from the direction he intends to jump, keeping his eye on the bar until he gets to a position from which he thinks his spring should be made. This will be his "take off," and should be in distance from the point immediately below the bar about half the height of the bar at that point. So as the height increases, the take, off will come back but only slightly.

It is essential that the jumper should concentrate on the cross-bar and forget everything about surrounding circumstances.

Putting the Shot.—The learner should first practice putting from a stand. The shot will be placed (but not for long) in the right hand just before the putt is to be made, and let it lie in the hand well up towards the fingers. If strong in the wrist and fingers, let it lie on the three middle fingers, using the thumb and little finger to keep it in place. Hold the elbow out from the body and the hand with the shot close to the neck under the ear. The feet should be about 2 ft. 6 in. apart; the right leg will be bent and as the putt is going to be made let the shoulder with the shot near it sink back to the right and then, as the leg straightens, bring it forward with all possible speed; the left arm will be stretched out in the direction in which the putt is to be made. Care should be taken that the shot is not allowed to leave the shoulder until the putt is being made.

Take care not to let the arm with the shot get too far out from the side of the body and keep the head up, looking in the direction of the putt. If the head is allowed to sink down and away from the shot, the weight and strength of the body will not get behind the putt; stand up against the shot and push right after it to the full extent of the arm. The shot should not leave the fingers until the arm is straightened. The legs should not be reversed until after the shot has left the hand.

Most learners when making an attempt to do their best putt, shoot the arm out hard and. at the same time, swing the body away to the left, which causes the body to pivot with the weight, giving way to the shot. Stand up to it and look at the shot going away with the head up.

When a fair putt can be made from a standing position, a run can be tried. Stand at the back of the circle, the right leg bent a little, with the weight of the body over the right leg. Lift the left leg out and swing it back to the right leg and as it again swings out spring sideways across the circle, the right foot landing near the centre and the left near the guard board. Both feet should land at the same time. You should land in exactly the same position as you were when putting from a stand; be careful not to spread the legs too much. Immediately as you land the shoulder swings back with the shot at it then forward again with all the force possible.

The most trouble seems to be to join the hop forward to the centre of the circle and the effort to make the putt together. Start slowly and attempt to finish fast. Exercises that strengthen the wrist and fingers should be indulged in. Try spinning the shot from one band to the other with the fingers; also place the shot at the shoulder in position to putt it, and flick it off the fingers into the left hand without pushing the arm out.

Hammer Throwing.—In the first place, in hammer-throwing a great many people consider this exercise is only for the heavy strong men. This idea is altogether wrong; any man of ordinary strength—say from 11 stone in weight—should be quite fit to indulge in hammer-throwing. The very fact that the idea has got firmly rooted in the minds of most young men that a man must be somewhat of a giant to take up the pastime, has kept many young men who are of medium build and weight from, perhaps, being champions. The real thing required is patience, perseverance, and a fair knowledge of the science of the game. Muscle control is an important factor in the making of a good thrower. Exercises that develop the abdominal and back muscles can be recommended, but the best way to develop the necessary muscles is to practice the event which it is intended to go in for.

page 38

First of all, the novice should practice swinging the hammer round the head, taking care to keep a good even pull on it all the way round and make it travel by employing the arms and controlling the body so that it does not swing from side to side as the hammer swings round; also that it swings to the same place each time it comes round. A good idea is to take up your stand in the circle or at a mark band put a peg in the ground opposite where the Lower part of the swing will be and make it come to that mark each time—a good lot of practice and exercise can be got in this way without throwing at all. After some confidence has been gained, and you feel you have some control over the hammer and your actions, try throwing from a stand.

The novice would be well advised to try to throw with one turn only until such time as he gets confidence in himself. He will find that the 7 ft. circle seems very small at first even for one turn; after a time he will be able to get in two or three.

Assuming that the thrower is going to throw with a turn, he takes up his stand with his back facing the direction he intends to throw. The hammer head is placed on the ground to the right side; the head is not lifted and the swing commenced. Three swings round the head will be sufficient to work up the speed for the first turn and as the hammer comes to the front and when the arms and handle form one straight line from the body, pivot on the left foot, leaning the body back to the right (not too much—only sufficient to keep a good balance) and let the arms reach out to their full length. Be careful not to take the weight of the hammer on the biceps (this is where muscle control comes in), immediately the arms are bent the hammer is being thrown from the elbows instead of from the body.

The position of the hammer at the commencement of the turn is most important thing to get correctly, as it is impossible to recover after once the thrower has started to turn. The arms should only connect the hammer handle to the body the muscles must not be tightened, but only stretched out: the fingers hooked so that the handle is held by the second joints. When it is felt that the pulling comes from the back of the shoulders and not from the arms it will be known" that the pulling is getting right and a better balance will be obtained; if the turn is made correctly, the hammer will be thrown straight back.

Do not jump round in the turns—spin round. Do not let the hammer drag too far back to the right, or eise the arms will be throwing the hammer instead of of the body pulling it. If the hammer is allowed to drag too far back too much strain will be put on the muscles on the right side of the body and perhaps a strain will result. Always try to finish faster than you started, and let the arms their full length when letting the hammer go, Remember that when you acquired sufficient skill to turn correctly, the faster you turn the further you will throw the hammer.

A continuous even pull is what should be aimed at: not, as is sometimes seen, a very strong man waiting for the hammer to come round and nearly stop and then give a tremendous heave. He uses up all his strength in starting the hammer after he has let it nearly stop.

A few snapshots taken while in action are useful to show how you compare with others as to style.