Dr. Weyand of Southern Methodist University will be the featured speaker at the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association state wide clinic to be held in January at Oak Park High School. This marks Dr. Weyand’s return trip to Illinois. He last spoke at Benedictine University back in 2002 in a program funded through Ken Jakalski’s “Faster than Gravity" Program. This time, all expenses for Dr. Weyand’s trip and sessions will be funded by the Illinois Coaches Association.
According to ICA President Jakalski, this unique state wide group is indeed fortunate to attract such a world renowned speaker for members of the ITCCCA, and the ability to fund such major projects further strengthens the ties between both groups serving the athletes and coaches in Illinois.
Dr. Weyand is an expert in the locomotion of humans and other terrestrial animals with research interests that span the relationships between muscle function, metabolic energy expenditure, whole body mechanics and performance. An expert in the scientific basis of gait and movement, his global interests in muscles and movement have made energy and performance central themes throughout his research career. Dr. Weyand’s scholarship draws on basic scientific principles to identify simple and accurate relationships at the whole-body level that advance understanding and drive innovation. His work on the limits to physical performance has been recognized internationally and featured in stories by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, National Public Radio, the New York Times, NHK Television in Japan, and others.
His specific expertise on the mechanical basis of sprint running performance led to his involvement in the "Michael Johnson, Wired Athlete" project undertaken in conjunction with FitSense Inc. and NBC prior to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. In 2008, Dr. Weyand served as a lead investigator and the host of the scientific team that performed experimental work on double amputee, South African sprinter, Oscar Pistorius, aka the "blade runner" prior to his eligibility Appeal Hearing before the International court of Sport Arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“Coaches will certainly want some practical and applied concepts on the basis of Dr. Weyand’s research, and that’s what he will provide in his two sessions and a follow-up Q& A,” noted Jakalski. For example, some believe that we’ve been ignoring the swing phase of the sprint, but that is certainly far from the truth. In fact, the research involving paralympian Oscar Pistorius, which Dr. Weyand will highlight, makes the importance of swing quite clear. What we know is that the mechanics of the stance and aerial portions of the running stride are indeed interrelated. Force and swing findings may be presented in an independent manner. However, they are not independent of one another in terms of speed. How fast one's top speed is depends on the values of both mass specific support force and swing time.
This is why the JAP2000 study was so significant. The relationship between mass specific force and speed would be considerably weaker if the swing time minimums measured in that study were not so similar. Further, the relationships between the mass specific force maximums and the top speeds attained, as well as the amount of force required to increase speed by any fixed increment (for example 1.0 m/s) both depend on minimum time of swing values. All this will be explained in the sessions and clinic notes.”
According to Jakalski, this relationship between force and swing becomes all the more significant in light of the Pistorius research. “Coaches can also experiment with equation 5 from the JAP2000 paper to see for themselves what happens when different numbers, such as 1/tc+ts, are substituted for the Frequency term. What at first doesn’t seem all that intuitive will make perfect sense by the end of Dr. Weyand’s sessions. His ability to provide a simple, “big picture” analysis of these issues is what makes him such an engaging presenter.”