We begin with Dwayne Miller, coach of the Norfolk Real Deal Track Club, as he coaches a strong group of 400 meter runners including 2X Olympic Gold Medalist LaShawn Merritt. As the season approaches, long sprinters and middle distances runners become a key to championship teams. Many coaches face a dilemma with their 400 runners in terms of “how hard should I go out” and “how should I pace a 400.” Since we know that the start of a 400 race can be key, we offer a drill and commentary from Coach Miller and LaShawn Merritt regarding the start of the 400 meter race.
Coach Miller breaks his 400 meter race into fifty meter segments. The first fifty meter concentrates on rhythm, tempo and remaining close to the inside of the lane. To do this, Coach Merritt uses the demonstrated stick drill to ensure proper foot placement at the start. The use of the sticks ensures a proper rhythm and speed as the athlete starts the race, and gets out in a fast, but controlled manner. Stressing the drive of the arms, and using a low foot recovery at the start, Coach Miller’s athletes will enter the backstretch ready to execute the rest of his race plan.