Research Impact: This study examined the delay in sprint start performance from mechanical delays of the soleus muscle and examined whether certain sprinters gain an advantage in sprint start response time. Nineteen national/international level sprinters underwent the following testing: 1) sprint starts from blocks in a competition environment, 2) mechanical delay measurement of the soleus muscle using a heel-lift experiment. A significant moderate correlation between sprint start response time and electromechanical delay was found.
Theoretically, this initial experiment of sprint start and electromechanical delay data suggests that electromechanical delay (and potentially Achilles tendon stiffness) could influence a sprinter’s response time. The paper also provides a commentary on the ongoing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) issues with response time detection (i.e. non-standardised methods of detection, gender differences).
Crotty, E.D., Hayes, K., and Harrison, A.J. (2019). Sprint start performance: the potential influence of triceps surae electromechanical delay, Sports Biomechanics, DOI: 10.1080/14763141.2019.1657932