Track & Field – Moye Blocks
Dick Washburn – Muscatine
I have been asked by several coaching colleagues to explain the Moye starting block technique
that my teams are using. I thought others might be interested in the use of the Moye blocks.
Moye blocks can provide the sprinter with the ultimate in starting.
After years of observing and testing different starting techniques,
used along with the two point starting position [stand up start] has outperformed any other
There is considerable debate about the efficiency of this starting technique. The main
arguments stem from the bio-mechanical point of view. Is it more efficient to start in a
four point traditional position?, a three point position? The manufacturer/developers
suggested four or three point Moye position?, or a two point stand up position?
Bio-mechanically the arguments justify the conclusions. The Moye four and three point
starting positions are not bio-mechanically sound.
At the start of each season I had to face the same challenge from my athletes,
“Do I have to use blocks?”. My standard answer, as with most, “Yes, you have to use blocks.”
This finally impacted me enough to evaluate why these athletes oppose the use of
starting blocks, and more importantly, why am I making them use blocks if they are
not comfortable with them?
The use of the Moye block in conjunction with the stand up two point starting position
has eliminated the block usage issue.
Why The Stand up Two Point Moye Start?
Ask any youngster see how fast they can run. When you say “set”, do they immediately
crouch into a four point starting position, or do they stand in a two point position?
9 out of 10 youngsters start in a two point position.
This is the natural position for young people to take at the start of a race, unless instructed differently.
The number one technique in sprinting is to get into and maintain the proper sprinting
position and maintain that position throughout the race. The stand up two point Moye
Start already has the sprinter closer to proper sprinting technique position than does
the use of the traditional block.
Less lower back strength is needed to rise into the sprinting position, and the arms and
legs are in a more natural sprinting position sooner.
The only one I have noticed is – Initially, it takes a little more time and effort for athletes
to learn how to position themselves in the Moye blocks in order to become balanced.
This is due to the position of the feet. The feet are closer to the center of the athletes
central vertical axis and plane, resulting in a side to side balancing adjustment.
The Moye Two Point Starting Technique
Setting the Block
1. The distance from the start line to the front foot pad is established by placing the
lead foot just behind the start line. All spikes of the lead foot are in contact with the
surface. The remainder of the foot is resting on the pad.
2. The rear pad placement requires the athlete to experiment with the distance until
feeling comfortable and balanced.
Suggestion: Start the establishment of the rear pad placement by moving the rear
pad three shoe lengths back from the beginning of the front pad.
The Starting Position
1. Place the lead foot on the front pad with all the spikes making contact with the
surface and the remainder of the foot on the front pad.
2. Place the rear foot on the rear pad. Place as little of the shoe on the surface as
possible, making sure that this foot is making legal contact with the surface as
stipulated by rule.
3. Stand tall and balanced until the “runners to your mark” command is given.
4. At the command, place the rear heel firmly against the back pad [no space
between the heel and the pad]. Place both hands on the knee of the lead leg.
Lower the center of gravity slightly in order to explode into the start. Head up.
Eyes focused straight ahead.
5. At the “set” command – Simultaneously move the drive arm [the arm opposite
that of the rear leg] from the knee to a position back and past the hip [this will
allow for a strong forward driving of the arm at the gun], and shift a great deal
of the body weight onto the front leg.
6. The amount of weight on the front leg is determined by the comfort level of
the athlete and that which allows for the greatest explosiveness for the start.
No magic percentage of weight, but should feel greater than 75%.
7. At the gun – Simultaneously drive the rear leg and drive arm forward explosively,
while driving the hand resting on the lead knee, backward. As the hips begin to
pass over the lead leg, explode off the front pad with the lead leg.
The Relay Start
The same starting technique, but hold the baton in the hand that is on the knee.
It is not a necessity to have Moye a block in order to use this technique.
Experiment with traditional starting blocks. Some traditional blocks are so designed
that you can use this technique without having to modify the block design. Might
design and make your own attachment pads, or buy factory made pads that
can be easily attached to and removed from the different styles of traditional blocks.