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Table 6 Summary of the level of agreement between scientific and best practice literature

From: The Training and Development of Elite Sprint Performance: an Integration of Scientific and Best Practice Literature

Training principle or methodScientific versus best practice literature
Progressive overloadModerate agreement. Both scientific and best practice literature emphasize the importance of familiarization and gradual progression to reduce injury risk and maximize performance. However, the influence of running surface and footwear as specific modifiers of sprint training load is more highlighted within best practice.
SpecificityPoor agreement. Both scientific and best practice literature highlight the importance of sprint running and high-velocity movements on sprint performance enhancement. However, there is a considerable gap in how the sprint specific training components are applied (see, e.g., specific sprint training further down).
Variation/periodizationPoor agreement. Scientific studies mainly focus on traditional and block-training periodization, while alternative models (e.g., “long-to-short” and “short-to-long”) are used within leading sprinting communities.
IndividualizationPoor agreement. Most scientific interventions have applied a “one-size-fits-all” approach, but recent studies have suggested that training should be prescribed according to individual force-velocity profiles. Best practice focuses more on training prescription according to individual performance capacity, anthropometric factors, training status/age, sex, and recovery/injury status.
Specific sprint trainingPoor agreement. Most sprint-related studies are performed on young team sport players, consisting of brief and maximal sprints with short recoveries. In contrast, elite sprinters perform sprint-specific training with varying distances, intensities and recoveries.
Technical trainingPoor agreement. Very few scientific studies are devoted to how optimal sprinting mechanics can be achieved. The best practitioners apply sprint drills to reinforce the technical work and isolate specific movement features.
Strength and power trainingGood agreement. There are no major discrepancies in sprint-related strength- and power training recommendations when comparing scientific and best practice literature.
Plyometric trainingGood agreement. Both scientific and best practice literature encourage sprinters to use different types of high-intensive bounding, jumping and skipping exercises for developing leg stiffness and horizontal power production.
Recovery strategiesPoor agreement. Best practice applies several passive and active post-exercise recovery modalities (massage, compression garments, cold water immersion, cryotherapy, tempo runs, etc.), although the scientific evidence for these strategies is limited.
TaperingGood agreement. The tapering strategies employed by the best practitioners are generally consistent with research, although best practice literature provides more detailed information.