Dan Pfaff is arguable the world’s best track coach; he’s coached 29 NCAA Champions and 33 Olympians (old bio here). He is now heading the Britain’s Track and Field program and has identified injury prevention as the single biggest issue facing UK Athletics.
With that in mind I want to share this video. There are several times where he says things that run counter to conventional wisdom and that’s the reason I wanted to share it and hopefully we’ll have a useful discussion below. He’s forgotten more about coaching than I’ll ever know and I’m so glad Dr. Richey shared this video via his twitter fed. Below the video are quotes and thoughts that I found important or surprising. A ton of information in just a 10 minute video.
“Don’t think sprint drills will make you run faster….for us they serve as a great dynamic warm-up and a great evaluation method for injuries and (tell us) if we should change the workout or not.”
- Power output doesn’t go down with a static stretching warm-up. He doesn’t see that science out on the track (i.e. that static stretching pre workout will decrease power output, meaning a sprinter would run the 60m slower after doing a ton of static stretching before a race).
“We do a lot of static stretching post workout, especially in muscles groups we feel are tighter than what we need for maximal performance.”
“Too flexible is as bad as too stiff.”
He refers to long anatomy trains; this video touches on what he’s talking about.
Tibia/Fibia joint dysfunction at the ankle would make the knee joint is hyper-mobile.
“Most chiropractors are spine guys. Find osteopaths or chiropractors that think ‘ground up’”
He’s looking for asymmetries in the warm-up and sprint drills. Note: It’s here where I think the guy is a genius. He can watch you walk 10m in street clothes and ask, “Is your left hamstring tight?” and he’s right.
“Joint suppleness is imperative.”
“Some fascial trains go from your toe to your index finger.”
“Fascia is one of the new frontiers in sports medicine.”
“If that athlete keeps doing that their career is going to be pretty short.”
On that note, here is Mike Young demonstrating a routine to help with this.