Although sprinting and wrestling are two totally different sports, there are some similarities that I’ve been looking at in my quest to better understand how to improve shot speed.
Just like in sprinting, a wrestler taking a shot is looking to move as explosively as possible in a horizontal direction.
No, they’re not identical. However, I feel it may be worth looking at research studies that examine sprinting speed and what influences it the most.
Here’s one study that I found that makes a case for improving horizontal propulsion for sprinters.
Ground reaction force (GRF) is a very popular topic in the sport of sprinting.
And why not?
How much force you can produce with each stride makes a huge impact on how fast you can run.
Typically GRF is divided into 2 categories. The first compares the vertical and horizontal components of each sprinter.
Side note- Based on what I’ve seen in the research thus far, the fastest sprinters are better at directing their force horizontally.
The second is to examine propulsive and braking phases. During a sprint, upon first foot contact, there is a slight period of braking/deceleration before your weight gets over your foot and you begin to produce force to continue sprinting.
By looking at the interaction of these 2 phases, researchers are able to, among other things, get a better understanding of the force being produced with each foot contact.
Previous research has revealed the following ways to optimize GRF.
1. Reduction of horizontal braking forces (not as important for wrestling).
2. Maximize the propulsive horizontal force (pretty important I’d say).
3. Produce a high average vertical GRF (equally, if not more important).
Goal Of Study- The researchers wanted to determine the relationships between normalized ground reaction impulse and sprinting performance during the acceleration phase.
Participants- 36 subjects (31 males and 5 females) from various team sports that involved sprinting. Actual trained and competitive sprinters were not used.
Testing- The subjects performed maximal-effort 25 meter sprints on an indoor track from a standing start.
1. Relative horizontal propulsive impulse accounted for 57% of the variance in sprint velocity.
2. Larger relative horizontal propulsive impulses were associated with greater sprinting speeds.
3. Relative horizontal braking impulses accounted for only 7% of variance in sprint velocity. Therefore, the researchers suggest that propulsive forces are much more important for sprinting at high speeds and fast acceleration.
What Does This Mean To Wrestlers:
The more force you can produce off the ground, the more likely you are to run fast.
Building off of this conclusion to make it specific to wrestling, this suggests that your ability to produce force in a horizontal direction may have a direct impact on your shot speed and power.
Hunter, J., R. Marshall, P. McNair. Relationships between ground reaction force impulse and kinematics of sprint-running acceleration. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 21, 31-43. 2005.