Positive vs. Negative Start Research

Feb 9th, 2016

Category: Coaching

Positive vs. Negative Start Research


For hundreds of years athletes have been naturally using the negative step for improved acceleration.┬áTraditionally, coaches teach that it’s a wasted step and will lead to slower acceleration. For such a highly debated topic the research is lacking. Decisions on positive vs negative step have been strictly opinion based.

We have been progressing with our research on the positive vs negative start along with The PJF Performance Biomechanics Consultant, Dr. Nofall. So far we have looked at Ground Reaction Forces of the two types of starts in a case study using a Professional Basketball combo guard. I’m excited to pair our force plate data with an actual outcome (time) with a larger range of participants.

For now, here’s some interesting GRF numbers:

Peak Force:
Negative start: 2074.67 N (Better)
Positive start 1566.07 N (Worse)

Rate of Force Development:
Negative start: 13530.42 N/s (Better)
Positive start: 2479.27 N/s (Worse)

Judging strictly from peak force and rate of force development, the negative start is superior. However, there are many other factors to look at outside of peak force and rate of force development. We look forward to providing more info and a final conclusion in the near future.

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