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Thread: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

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    Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    According to this study, it would appear that having shorter Achilles tendons may be more advantageous to a sprinter than having long Achilles tendons, which is the opposite of what many people believe.
    Comments?

    http://lermagazine.com/cover_story/t...ide-the-blocks

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    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Neospeed View Post
    According to this study, it would appear that having shorter Achilles tendons may be more advantageous to a sprinter than having long Achilles tendons, which is the opposite of what many people believe.
    Comments?

    http://lermagazine.com/cover_story/t...ide-the-blocks
    I do not agree with your summary Neospeed. What is stated in the study is that the "trained" sprinters in the study had shorter achilles then the non-sprinter control group (and the length discrepancy was smaller after MRI evaluation). What this study, similar to most, fails at accomplishing is demonstrating the morphobiomechanical specifics of the most elite sprinters in the world compared to what ever non-sprinter control group.

    Careful to not fall prey to generalizations that emerge from studies such as whatever "trained" sprinters were measured at a northern state school whose all time record in the men's 100m is 10.34 set forty two years ago in 1975.

    Imagine if physicists conjectured gravitational predictions on Jupiter based solely upon measurements taken on earth.

    This study could only have validity if the same findings were made on:
    • Usain Bolt
    • Tyson Gay
    • Justin Gatlin
    • Asafa Powell
    • Yohan Blake
    • Ben Johnson
    • Nesta Carter
    • Donovan Bailey


    and so on

  3. #3

    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Fair enough, but at least it *may* show that having short Achilles tendons is not necessarily a bad thing for a sprinter to have. It would not entitle a coach or therapist to tell a sprinter that they will never make it to the elite level because of their short Achilles tendons. I've come across coaches and physiotherapists who have stated that it is an advantage for sprinters to have long Achilles tendons, but this study found this not to be the case.

  4. #4

    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Note the statement in this study
    "It should be noted that the correlations between muscle-tendon structure and performance described in these studies do not imply clear causal relationships between structure and function. Such correlations are not always found; one recent investigation found almost no structural differences between very good sprinters and great ones.

    Serious statistical studies are best achieved by solid study methods. I always like to see the size of populations and the analysis methods.
    Therefore highly targeted populations eg - elite sprinters / good sprinters / healthy non sprinting runners / healthy non runners / sedentary populations and so on.
    Assessment of the effects of genetics versus training. For example has Usain Bolt always had a short/long tendon or has it developed during training. And so on .......

    An alternative approach is testing using randomised large scale populations.

    There are of course mutiple reasons for people being fast/slow and tendon length is possibly one of a large number - and may just be a coincidence. And minor compared to others.

    Consider the amount of research that has been proved as plain wrong : We are becoming more overweight because we are less active not because we eat more. Oh dear, we just noticed people are eating 30-40% more calories because we forgot to add in grazing and high cal drinks.
    Fat is bad for you, or is it calories, or is it carbs.
    Bond and equity prices move in opposite directions - er not always.
    How do you get rich on the financial markets - take the opposite position to Lagarde and Blanchard .....
    Fusion reactors, particles travelling at faster than the speed of light under the Italian mountains (shame about the speedometer).

    What causes poor science: My simplification :
    Political and economic theories - people are inclined to take positions that suit their views.
    Scientific - university plaudits come from research not undergraduate teaching.

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    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    I came across an interesting interview regarding sport science from Champion Magazine spring of 1987.

    I will post the entire interview on my blog.

    Interviewer " The high performance athlete of today has considerably more support that you did when you were competing in the early 1970's" competitive opportunities, state of the art facilities and sport science came to mind. What would you say are the most significant differences between then and now?"

    Charlie "First of all, sport science is a meaningless discussion. All that sport scientists are trying to do is validate what everyone knows already. The real question is are you going to give the athletes all the support they need?".....

  6. #6

    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Coon View Post
    I came across an interesting interview regarding sport science from Champion Magazine spring of 1987.

    I will post the entire interview on my blog.

    Interviewer " The high performance athlete of today has considerably more support that you did when you were competing in the early 1970's" competitive opportunities, state of the art facilities and sport science came to mind. What would you say are the most significant differences between then and now?"

    Charlie "First of all, sport science is a meaningless discussion. All that sport scientists are trying to do is validate what everyone knows already. The real question is are you going to give the athletes all the support they need?".....
    Indeed. And can anyone name significant elite level athletics coaches with a substantial background in sports science ........

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    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Neospeed View Post
    Fair enough, but at least it *may* show that having short Achilles tendons is not necessarily a bad thing for a sprinter to have. It would not entitle a coach or therapist to tell a sprinter that they will never make it to the elite level because of their short Achilles tendons. I've come across coaches and physiotherapists who have stated that it is an advantage for sprinters to have long Achilles tendons, but this study found this not to be the case.
    Indeed, any coach who summarily dismisses an athlete solely on the basis of anthropemetric/morphobiomechanical evaluation (barring something extreme such as an obese 130kg person who seeks gold in the 100m) should be immediately relieved of their coaching position.

    That said, there is no refuting the laws of mechanics. So when the day comes, which may not be far off, when we can fully engineer humans, it is highly probable that all humans engineered for sprinting will be analogs of each other and all share relatively long Achilles tendons in common; along with a host of other traits (thicker tendons, white fiber dominant, smaller hips, proportionally longer legs and shorter torsos...)

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    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbloke View Post
    Indeed. And can anyone name significant elite level athletics coaches with a substantial background in sports science ........
    In truth, it needn't be one or the other. Charlie was a unicorn in so far as his keen sense, intuition, intelligence, dedication, and so on, which afforded him the "software" that subverted the need for what other coaches depend upon technologically and academically.

    The real problem is that formal coaching education and sport science are Balkanized from one another and much of formal coaching education is flawed in its design. The solution is the unification of both realms into one in which the sum is an objectively competent/qualified coach.

    There can be absolutely no argument against the fact that any coach would greatly benefit from a deeper, objective, scientific understanding of the fields relevant to their discipline. This would have applied equally to Charlie as anyone else.

    The rub is what each coach possesses independent from their learned knowledge which is namely cognitive ability and psycho-behavioral qualities. As it regards Charlie, and as I've written, I only had the opportunity to meet and speak with him in person on one occasion, and one other time on the phone, and my take coming away from speaking with him in person was that Charlie was of genius intellect.

    The combination of that sort of cognitive ability coupled with relevant knowledge developed by what Charlie was able to criticize and conjecture based upon what he learned from Percy Duncan, Gerard Mach, and others, resulted in the perfect storm of Charlie.

    I would conjecture that athletics coaches such as Dan Pfaff, Boo Schexnayder, Randy Huntington, Anatoliy Bondarchuk, and dozens of foreign coaches whose names are not in the limelight, have an excellent working understanding of various sport scientific domains. As to whether their knowledge was gained in formal academic circles or not is absolutely meaningless.

  9. #9

    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbloke View Post
    Indeed. And can anyone name significant elite level athletics coaches with a substantial background in sports science ........
    Esa "Basi car lee" Peltola .

  10. #10

    Re: Short achilles tendons for faster sprinting

    Quote Originally Posted by James Smith View Post
    In truth, it needn't be one or the other. Charlie was a unicorn in so far as his keen sense, intuition, intelligence, dedication, and so on, which afforded him the "software" that subverted the need for what other coaches depend upon technologically and academically.

    The real problem is that formal coaching education and sport science are Balkanized from one another and much of formal coaching education is flawed in its design. The solution is the unification of both realms into one in which the sum is an objectively competent/qualified coach.

    There can be absolutely no argument against the fact that any coach would greatly benefit from a deeper, objective, scientific understanding of the fields relevant to their discipline. This would have applied equally to Charlie as anyone else.

    The rub is what each coach possesses independent from their learned knowledge which is namely cognitive ability and psycho-behavioral qualities. As it regards Charlie, and as I've written, I only had the opportunity to meet and speak with him in person on one occasion, and one other time on the phone, and my take coming away from speaking with him in person was that Charlie was of genius intellect.

    The combination of that sort of cognitive ability coupled with relevant knowledge developed by what Charlie was able to criticize and conjecture based upon what he learned from Percy Duncan, Gerard Mach, and others, resulted in the perfect storm of Charlie.

    I would conjecture that athletics coaches such as Dan Pfaff, Boo Schexnayder, Randy Huntington, Anatoliy Bondarchuk, and dozens of foreign coaches whose names are not in the limelight, have an excellent working understanding of various sport scientific domains. As to whether their knowledge was gained in formal academic circles or not is absolutely meaningless.
    Practical experience + scientific knowledge is optimum/essential, I was not suggesting otherwise. Merely questioning the value of the rigour and value of some of the sports science research. Historic tendency seems to be for successful coaches to be smart people (`graduate level`) who graft necessary scientific knowledge on to practical sports experience as a competitor. Rather than the other way round of sports science first.

    Will be interesting to see if the growth in sports science graduate level education will result in greater numbers of them reaching high level athletic positions. My suspicion is that the absolute top level coaches will remain the hybrid type, and where finance supports the model, the addition of sports science experts in targeted scientific sub specialities such as biomechanics analysis etc.

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