Acceleration is a skill and should be trained as such. Maximum Velocity can be taught and improved. I believe it is important at times to blend both elements of elite sprinting in practice simultaneously. Roberto Bonomi in his lecture at Sundsvall in 2011 he discussed how in the most elite sprinting requires great stride frequency. That is why I feel it is important to set your training to improve those qualities in specific training modules.
The late Charlie Francis and other coaches talked discussed the idea of a dynamic stereotype. The dynamic stereotype is the belief that the body becomes hardwired after a certain amount of training at specific speeds. This hardwiring from the dynamic stereotype could artificially lower the ceiling of an athlete's absolute velocity. To break this hardwiring sprint, float, sprint or similar types of activities are useful in training.
Enclosed below is a training module used by the great Gary Winkler that I believe helps shake up that stereotype leading to better stride frequency at the same time allowing for acceleration speed traps to improve the drive phase. As a coach, it is paramount to have these areas marked off with cones to giving the athletes landmarks. Also, you can use these cones as holders for the free lap timing system pods that give you hyper accurate timing breakdowns of each stage of our intervals.
Recently because of inclement weather, one of the great coaches in our area was forced to restructure his training. He has been blessed with a young talented female high school athlete who has run great times in the 24.75 in 200m and 57.26 400m. Also, she is, a great PR in the long jump over 18 feet.
Unfortunately, the weather has kept the coach from being able to do traditional 400 centered training. However, coach had a great plan in place to make his athlete the most dominant starter and explosive athlete he could build. Now after a winter of acceleration, sled pulling, and plyometric work she has a much-improved block start that will allow her to carry more speed reserve in the second 100 of a 200 dash. If she stays healthy, I believe a couple of individual state titles are in her future.
In one of our recent practices, I have been pleasantly surprised how nicely these modules work to teach the skills of high speed sprinting. Click to the next page to see the workout.