In 2001, I was the push coach for the 2002 skeleton men’s and women’s teams. If you are unfamiliar with the sport, check it out on the Olympics that are currently being aired.
I traveled extensively from Dallas to the Olympic training center in Lake Placid, New York, to the Canadian Olympic training center in Calgary, Canada and to the Olympic venue in Park City, Utah. I was the push coach which meant I was responsible for the start of the push of the sled until the slider “loaded” or got on the sled.
The push is about 14 strides, maybe 25-35 yards. Of course, being on ice you get going pretty quick, but it was interesting being new to the sport how most of the same runs of speed applied to an athlete leaning over, hanging onto a sled rapidly moving down-hill.
The foot placement at the start was the key and I used the same mechanics as I did with the 40-yard dash start in football. The turnover was equally important.
During push training on the indoor ice track in Canada, I used extensively our pedal the bicycle drill to make rapid improvements.
That 2002 skeleton team won women's gold and silver and the men won gold.