I was searching on the internet for this and I realized not many people are talking about it. So I decided to write a post for beginners to help them understand what is turnover speed and how can they improve it.
The short answer is, turnover speed refers to the time during your sprint when your foot leaves the ground until when it cycles through and touches back on the ground. This time period is your turnover and improving it is what we call turnover speed. Essentially, it means how fast you are able to move your leg to make contact with the ground again once your foot is in the air.
So when people say that somebody has a great turnover, they are referring to how quickly an athlete is cycling their leg. It is an important component of your sprint because when you are trying to run faster, you should be able to turn your legs over as quickly and smoothly as possible.
What Is Turnover Speed?
Turnover speed, as explained above, is the speed with which you are able to cycle your legs. The moment your foot leaves the ground behind your back to the time it comes to the front and makes contact with the ground again is what we call turnover speed.
The whole idea of improving your turnover speed is to enhance your top-end speed. This is a crucial aspect to improve for any athlete who wants to create an edge over their opponents. If you don’t work on your turnover speed, chances are you might end up not reaching your top speed effectively or burning out too quickly before even the race finishes.
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How To Increase Turnover Speed For Sprinters
Your spine position needs to be upright, neither too far forward nor too far back. If the spine is too far forwards, you tend to spend too much time bringing your back leg forward and completing your turnover. If it’s too far behind, it will not allow you to reach your top speed as you would not be able to generate enough power.
Spine position mechanics are different for people who are just starting out their sprint. For example, if you are in the drive phase, the mechanics would be different. Obviously, you would not able to maintain that upright position at the beginning of your sprint. However, the idea is the same, you should be able to complete the cycle with your legs quickly and efficiently.
Pushing Off The Ground Vertically
When you are reaching your top-end speed in your sprint, you should push more vertically off the ground. This will allow you to drive your legs right up and through. If you don’t push more vertically, it will become difficult for you to achieve the turnover speed you would want.
Many people wrongly believe that long strides make you go faster during a sprint. While that is important, it’s not the most important aspect to focus on when trying to improve your speed. Too long strides don’t allow you to create a good turnover speed as the cycle becomes too lengthy and therefore causes the turnover speed to slow and ground force to be weaker.
The best way forward should be to focus on both, the long strides and improving your turnover speed. You would not be able to generate a good horizontal force if you don’t pay heed to the turnover and instead keep making long strides during your sprint.
Force into the Ground
When completing your turnover, you should be able to get your foot out in the front better so you are able to get more force into the ground. It’ll immensely improve your overall speed. Many athletes that I come across don’t focus on this aspect of the sprint and their turnover speed is not great because of this basic problem with how they make contact with the ground.
Things To Avoid
When trying to improve your turnover speed you should avoid the following in order to see quick results:
The Long Strides
Many people (even some coaches) might tell you to focus on the long strides alone when you are trying to reach your top speed. The fact is, it’s always a balance of the long strides and the turnover you create with your legs.
What happens with the long strides is that your foot is in contact with the ground for far too long than necessary, this delays your push off the ground and significantly reduces your turnover speed. As an athlete, I would highly recommend you to focus on your turnover rather than the long strides or at least try to maintain a fine balance between the two.
Not Vertically High Enough
When your foot pushes off the ground, it should be able to generate enough power to take you high vertically so you are able to complete your turnover cycle efficiently. If you are not high vertically high enough, you will just move your legs really fast but it’ll not create the turnover that you would like for your sprint.
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I hope you now know what turnover speed is and how you can improve your turnover as a sprinter. We discussed the basic idea that turnover ends up being that time when your foot is off the ground.
There are people that have really good turnover because they focus on the right aspects of it and avoid the things I mentioned above.
If you liked this information, feel free to check out our website for more exciting content on how to improve your speed and grow as an athlete. You can also send in your sprinting videos and we will give you a complete breakdown of your sprint to help you improve.