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  • Ranking reasons of improving over time

    Trying to rank reasons why performances improve over time

    1. Major change in equipment (blocks, fiberglass poles, etc)
    2. Any revolutionary technique/style (Fosbury flop, spin)
    3. Track surface
    4. Better training methods/coaches
    5. Emphasis on weight training
    6. More $, longer careers - more motivation
    7. Better shoes
    8. More emphasis on nutrition
    9. Mental strength - knowing times can be run, etc (goals, etc)
    10. Lighter/"quicker" clothing


    What am I leaving out?

  • #2
    Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

    Fewer social barriers to compete - especially on the women's side of the sport.

    Also, generally a bigger population pool to draw from. Howerver, the converse is true at the USA high school level today compared to the peak of the baby boomer generation.

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    • #3
      Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

      Originally posted by dbirds
      9. Mental strength - knowing times can be run, etc (goals, etc)
      This cannot be emphasized enough. The 'Dyestat Effect' was a huge catalyst for improving the middle of the pack in HS T&F. Kids saw what other kids were doing and thinking, 'hell, if he can do it, I can do it.' In a similar fashion, world-class continues to improve (the drug-inflated 70s thru 00s notwithstanding) because everyone sees what has been done, can be done, and must be done to excel. The human brain is by far the most important 'muscle' in an athlete's body.

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      • #4
        Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

        Umm, performance enhancing drugs? Or is that part of nutrition? I guess it could be revolutionary technique/style, too.

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        • #5
          Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

          Originally posted by mcgato
          Umm, performance enhancing drugs? Or is that part of nutrition? I guess it could be revolutionary technique/style, too.
          Not a factor at all. The market was uber-saturated at the end-of the last century, so no 'gain' since then. The improvement slope today is as 'real' as it's gonna get, because just as many athletes are doping now as have been in the last 30-40 years.

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          • #6
            Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

            A very big issue is the opening up of new populations to serious training and competion. We all know that in the 1960s, the number of East or North African athletes was pretty small. The changes in participation from those areas has totally re-written the era from about the late 1970s to now. Not sure what to title that, however...: Cultural Spread/Adoption?

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            • #7
              Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

              Wait until India starts a serious program or Nigeria.
              Clay, your categories 4 & 5 overlap--weight training is a better training method for almost every event.
              How about greater saturation on tv in America? Kids don't know much about t&f--maybe if they saw it more on tv? We get very little programming dealing with T&F--this goes along with money of course. Someone talk to Bill Gates about paying members of the US olympic team 100 grand each and OG winners $1 mill and WR setters $1 mill. That's just for openers.

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              • #8
                Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                Originally posted by Marlow
                Originally posted by mcgato
                Umm, performance enhancing drugs? Or is that part of nutrition? I guess it could be revolutionary technique/style, too.
                Not a factor at all. The market was uber-saturated at the end-of the last century, so no 'gain' since then. The improvement slope today is as 'real' as it's gonna get, because just as many athletes are doping now as have been in the last 30-40 years.
                Meanwhile, in fantasyland, obviously THG never came along in the early '00s. And you sincerely think that was the end of designer drugs?! The mind boggles.

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                • #9
                  Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                  Originally posted by gh
                  Originally posted by Marlow
                  Originally posted by mcgato
                  Umm, performance enhancing drugs? Or is that part of nutrition? I guess it could be revolutionary technique/style, too.
                  Not a factor at all. The market was uber-saturated at the end-of the last century, so no 'gain' since then. The improvement slope today is as 'real' as it's gonna get, because just as many athletes are doping now as have been in the last 30-40 years.
                  Meanwhile, in fantasyland, obviously THG never came along in the early '00s. And you sincerely think that was the end of designer drugs?! The mind boggles.
                  I miss your point. Mine was that T&F has been saturated with GREAT drugs since the 70/80s (look at the women's throw results back then!!!! ), and as such, new drugs have not been a big factor in the 'slope' of the improvement line. As a matter of fact, we haven't even matched the results of back then as evidenced by the 'millenial record' 69.99 in the wDT. Look at the SP/DT results from back then.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                    Perhaps I'm getting Marlow's question wrong, but here's how I understand it: Regardless of what we think of the impact of PEDs over the past however-many decades, these other factors posted above by dbirds also contribute, or may contribute, to improvement in marks. How do you rank the factors listed? (I will wait to see if Marlow confirms that this is correct, and then I will consider posting a long, ponderous, "on the one hand, on the other hand, on the third hand" sort of comment, thus dooming this thread to oblivion, as I tend to do...)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                      Originally posted by Master Po
                      (I will wait to see if Marlow confirms that this is correct, and then I will consider posting a long, ponderous, "on the one hand, on the other hand, on the third hand" sort of comment, thus dooming this thread to oblivion, as I tend to do...)
                      By all means, proceed!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                        Originally posted by Master Po
                        I will consider posting a long, ponderous, "on the one hand, on the other hand, on the third hand" sort of comment,
                        Hey, we can handle it. We love 75-lap races on the track, after all!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                          Originally posted by gh
                          Meanwhile, in fantasyland, obviously THG never came along in the early '00s. And you sincerely think that was the end of designer drugs?! The mind boggles.
                          My understanding is that designer drugs are mostly created to get around doping controls, but are not significantly (or at all) more effective than 'traditional' PEDs. EPO was a real breakthrough in terms of enhancing performances in endurance events, but other than that, I'm not convinced any new inventions in the last 20 years had significant impact.
                          Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                            Right. Men aren't putting the shot 75 feet and women aren't running the 800 in 1:53 for a reason, which is that it's harder to use the most powerful drugs and not get caught. It's kind of like speeding, where your ability to flagrantly get away with it depends on time and place.

                            I think revolutions in technique lead to the most significant improvements. The only recent one is the invention of the "drive phase" which has impacted the 100 a lot. I was looking at an old TN from 1965 that had time-lapse photography from behind the blocks of the Oly Trials 100. One guy displayed something like a modern drive phase. I checked the caption...yep, Bob Hayes.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Ranking reasons of improving over time

                              All of the above. There are outliers (nautral or enhanced) at any given time but, in general, it is just time compressed evolution of physiology, tecnique, training, equipment, facilites, etc .

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