Monday, July 13, 2009

NSCA 2009

Just got back from NSCA in Las Vegas. No speaking this time, but will be speaking on multi-directional speed in Orlando next year. It's easy to forget how enjoyable and valuable it is to get to spend time seeing friends and colleagues, that you may not spend time with often.

One of the things I was looking forward to, was actually trying the new Woodway Speedboard. I have worked with the Woodway Force for years both in research and in training. Its a great tool for many aspects of speed training, energy system development, and diagnosis.

Like the Force, the Speedboard was intriguing because it is self propelled. It would offer the opportunity to provide video analysis and feedback easily. It would allow instant changes in speed for in-outs or interval work, and we could switch between users quickly.

For me a key though is how it feels to a sprinting athlete, along with what it does to both the kinetics and kinematics. I haven't got one yet to do video analysis, but the feel was pretty good to me, and I was able to hear what some collegiate level sprinters thought.

It takes just a minute to get used to it, which is always a good sign for natural mechanics. While using a high speed treadmill, you sometimes can notice that need to focus on quicker recovery but not necessarily force production into the ground. On the Force treadmill you become very aware of the need for force production.

One of the things I noticed was that I did have to focus on force into the ground as I accelerated along with feeling the need for quicker recovery. I would say the feel was somewhere in the middle of the those other two modalities. This may make some sense since the curve of the belt means that you will need to increase force into the ground as you hit up higher on the belt where there is a greater angle. The angle of the deck transfers some of the vertical forces into horizontal for you thus increasing the belt speed.

All in all my initial impression is this is a device with a lot of potential. It is going to be great for individual or group interval training without question. For an athlete that needs max velocity training I think it will probably be good as well. Not a replacement for over-ground running, but it could be a very effective supplement. As I learn more and study the kinematics/kinetics, we'll find out more.