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You want to give yourself the best start possible when you are in a sprint. The stability of the blocks will allow you to project yourself forward and can give you an edge over the other competitors that you are running against. And the angle at which you come out will have an impact on how you are setup for the duration of the sprint.
Many track and field athletes rely on the blocks that are provided for them. The thing is, not all starting blocks are built the same and they can have different types of impact for the race that is being run.
Some of the issues that athletes can find when using the incorrect starting blocks include:
The blocks slip.
This might occur because the weight of the blocks are too light or it isn’t setup to grip the surface very well.
The blocks are too narrow or too wide.
This might affect the foot placement for the athlete, which can cause them to come out of the blocks incorrectly, which affects their balance and the different phases of the race.
Additional things include the weight and comfort of the blocks. Since most of the people using blocks are students, it is either the athlete or the parents of the athlete who will be responsible for carrying and storing the blocks.
All things need to be considered when investing in starting blocks for the athlete. In this post, we’ve provided some suggestions.
These blocks are the Grade A standard of blocks in track and field. They are in the premium price-bracket. However, these are the blocks that will last for a lifetime and can even be passed down to other generations, or even resold to other athletes in the future.
During my time as an athlete, I’d used these blocks that were at least 10 years old. Those same blocks have been used for another 20 years.
There are a few things that you need to consider with these blocks.
- They are heavy (Which is great for using them to start, but is inconvenient to carry)
- They are wider blocks (This is great for foot placement, but might affect smaller/slimmer athletes that would benefit more from a narrow starting setup.
- They are sturdy (This is excellent for stability)
- They suit all surfaces (grass, tartan, mondo, dry and wet surfaces)
These blocks are recognised by athletic bodies and you generally won’t have any issues using them in competitions.
They are also great starting blocks to train with.
Prices start from $149.
These blocks are also in the Grade A spectrum. They aren’t as widely used as the Gill, but still offer similar benefits. I’ve used these in the past and enjoyed them for similar benefits compared to the Gill. Sturdy and secure.
One of the additional benefits is the weighting, so it is easier to carry.
These also offer a slightly wide frame, which will suit most athletes.
Prices start from $196.
When should you seriously consider investing in sprinting blocks?
If the athlete is racing at higher-level competitions, then sprinting blocks are a must.
For sprints such as the 100m, 200m, and 400m, you can getaway with borrowing blocks or using the ones provided. However, to maintain consistency, you want to use your own.
The exception I would make is for the hurdles event. The angle that you come out at is critical, as it affects the distance and position that your body will be in by the first hurdle.
The wrong block setup can really affect you. So either find out if the competitions that you are going to will use the same blocks, or if not, either bring your own or understand what adjustments you may need to make to minimise any performance risks with the blocks.