5 Great Books for Sprinters
1. Books for Sprinters – Speed Trap by Charlie Francis
The book clears up a lot of things.
First, Charlie Francis was light-years ahead of his coaching competition. He accomplished everything entirely on his own merits. On a shoestring budget and with absolutely zero support from his country.
Second, Ben Johnson is the greatest sprinter that ever lived. If not for an early celebration in the 1988 Olympic final he would have run a 9.70 100m with a few years left for improvement. He was absolutely unfairly robbed of his rightful place in sports history (not to mention millions of dollars).
Finally, the hypocrisy of international sports is impossible to exaggerate.
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in athletic performance, sprinting specifically, or the inside story to one of the biggest sports scandals of all time
2. Books for Sprinters – So you want to be a Sprinter – Bud Winter
Training Methods used by the legendary coach Lloyd Bud Winter whose speed city team in the 1960s wreaked havoc at the Olympic Games in the 1960s by clearing up most of the sprint medals.
The original two versions (1956, 1973) written by Bud Winter famous coach of the San Jose State Spartan track and field teams from 1941 to 1974, were used to train many Olympic medalists and dozens of world record holders. The new 2010 edition combines the best of both versions and includes detailed training plans for full-time year ’round athletes, and one for multi-sport athletes beginning training in January.
The training plans and techniques illustrated in this book were used by Olympic medal winners and World Record holders, Ray Norton, Bob Poynter, Dennis Johnson, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Lee Evans, Ronnie Rae Smith, just some of the 37 world record holders coached by Bud Winter.
This book offers any track coach or parent a step by step guide to teach anyone to sprint faster.
The “Tested, proven, techniques to teach anyone to sprint faster” includes:
- 3 ways to be a faster sprinter
- Starting technique and using blocks
- The 8 essential drills to develop optimal sprint form
- The gather and the finish lean
- Full, proven detailed training plans for the year ’round athlete
- Full, proven detailed training plans starting in January
- Lee Evans specialized training plan for the 400 meters
- Basic, proven relaxation techniques
- The 7 attributes that make a champion
This book is a must-read for any track coach, or parent interested in having their athletes run faster whether they run track, play soccer, basketball, baseball, football, or lacrosse. The time tested techniques “So You Want to be a Sprinter” will help any athlete, male or female, young or old, run faster.
Many coaches used Bud’s books as field journals that were used on the field and scribbled their notes in the book. Thus the Coaches’ version is a special edition spiral bound version of the paperback.
3. Books for Sprinters – Michael Johnson – Slaying the Dragon
I have always been a massive fan of Michael Johnson- both for his performance on the track and his thought-provoking commentary for corporations such as the BBC. This book is a fantastic guide into the mindset of a World and Olympic champion, with advice that far transcends athletics. It is applicable to any aspect of life that requires setting and achieving goals, whilst also providing more insight into Michael’s own, personal story. I originally read this in the library and tracked down my own version of the book via Amazon.
I particularly enjoyed Michael’s story about struggling with finite maths at college, as he was determined to excel at business, and how he almost gave up but persevered. He states that the dream outcome would be that his hard work paid off and he achieved an A. But the reality was he passed which was all he needed. And sometimes that is what Slaying the Dragon is for you. For Sport’s fans, it also delves into Michael’s key races and details the preparation and training involved. I read this at least a few times a year and still discover new pearls of wisdom and cannot recommend this highly enough.
4. Cathy – Her Own Story ; by Cathy Freeman
For the first time, in her own words, Cathy Freeman tells the story of her remarkable life. With characteristic honesty, she talks about growing up black in a white world, about her large, close-knit family, her complicated relationship with Nick Bideau, marriage to Sandy Bodecker, and their painful separation.
5. Born to Run by Cathy Freeman
Ever since I was little I only had one dream – to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
When I was twenty-seven years old, my dream came true. I’ll never forget that night at the Sydney 2000 Games – as I crossed the finish line, it was as if the whole of Australia was cheering for me.
Sometimes I still wonder how it happened. When I was growing up, I felt no different from anyone else. I loved having fun with my brothers, sleeping over at nanna’s, and going horse riding with my dad. But I especially loved to run. With the help of my family, coaches, and teachers, I became the best female 400-meter runner in the world.
I hope you enjoy my story, and that it inspires you to chase after your dreams too!
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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