– It wasn’t a lightbulb that hit me in the middle of the night, it was an observation over a long period of time of “there has to be a better way!” –
I have coached track now for the better part of four years (coaching in general for about seven). Three seasons at youth level and three seasons at high school level. Before that I knew very little about running because for the period of time when I grew up, track was a simple thing: run fast, go straight, turn left. Apparently, there’s a little bit more than that. It turns out there’s a lot more. Thanks to a great mentor in the beginning of my coaching career I found that out. This great mentor happened to be my daughter’s hurdling coach.
Long story short, I got trained up good and fast through the advice of this mentor. I took the courses, got certified as a Level 1 USATF coach, and at last began to see that running and sprinting are so much more than pointing in a direction and taking off.
Mechanics drew my attention early on in my learning… I felt a sense of amazement that one’s own strength, flexibility, and muscle memory could shape performance elements such as speed, injury prevention, stability, and efficiency. It was real and not some science fiction that I couldn’t achieve for my athletes.
But I noticed the shortcomings of coaching certain parts of running mechanics. Arm mechanics, in particular, held my attention as a life long student who earned a minor in biology back in my college days. How could something so simple and natural for an athlete be so easy to get wrong? Or perhaps not wrong, but certainly not exactly right. I had athletes that would work and work on drills for proper arm mechanics and they just couldn’t get the placement right. The muscle memory refused to accept what we were offering and we certainly didn’t have the time as coaches to work it long enough to make a difference. The hands on some of even our best athletes would still look like spatulas connected to biceps (or more precisely elbows could never achieve that driving-into-the-backside position needed for proper form). I started thinking about this problem for a while before I believed that there must be a simple device that could aid in this technical dilemma. Something that the runner can wear and they actually hear their own arms hitting that desired backside arm position. I knew it was something that should be worn and I knew it had to make a noise.
I’ve only seen one other arm mechanics device on the market and it appeared to me this device was built to correct one thing and one thing only: angle of the bent arm. And it certainly didn’t make a noise. Considering there was nothing else out there, it was enough but it never satisfied what I thought was essential, proper backside arm mechanics and a system that allows self-coaching by means of on-runner feedback.
The first prototype for KlickSpeed was a horrible mess. It looked crazy and absolutely did not work. It was a failure. At that point I was ready to let “real” inventors get to the actual work of creating something that never existed before. I gave up far too early and just wanted someone else to do it for me.
But something happened, someone showed interest in the idea and it made me think I was really on to something. I started again. First with drawings and then with retooling the prototype. In hind sight, the drawings were wrong because they worked off my misconception of forces and how they were at play while running. So I got to stitching and sowing and glueing and experimenting. Only when the device is on the body working with our physiology can we start to understand the movement of arms as a sort of dance of levers and forces. Once I understood that, I understood how the device I had previously created was simply facing the wrong way. The arms needed to provide the force to create it’s own auditory feedback and that led to the current design of KlickSpeed.
We’re still in the sampling phase of production but I can tell you from what my beta testers are saying, we have a great product on our hands and it’s going to be a huge benefit to all runners: sprinters, mid distance, distance. Considering most sports have some combination of these distances and intensities, it’s a beneficial running aid for a variety of sports.
Whether you’re a soccer player looking to get a little more speed for a play down the field or a mile runner trying to break your PR, KlickSpeed is here! I hope athletes and coaches will take advantage of this new training aid.