The build-up to the impending release of The Sprinter’s Compendium, seemed to be longer than an Olympic cycle. The author, Ryan Banta, has been talking about this book for so long, the amazing coach contributors, the fantastic content, yet to be perfectly honest, I never thought the book would come to fruition. How wrong I was.
AND, I really should stop calling it a book, at 763 pages cover to cover, it’s hardly a conventional book… A more appropriate title could be a sprinting almanac or a sprinting bible.
I guess what struck me when I first received the book, aside from 2.2kg mass, was how comprehensive it was in offering something to sprint coaches of all levels. Whether you were just starting out and needed information about how to design your warmups, or you wanted to know the basics all the way through to the advanced concepts on starting, acceleration, plyometrics and maximal velocity postures… it was all there.
Personally, I think what I enjoyed the most about the text was the coach contributions, which are littered all throughout the text. And these just aren’t local coaches from all over the USA, these are the top-shelf of sprinting royalty from across the globe. From the sprint coaching and athletic development trailblazers such as Dan Pfaff, Brooks Johnson, Gary Winckler, Vince Anderson and Vern Gambetta to some of the coaches who have continued the great work of these coaches such as Rana Reider, Kebba Tolbert, Tony Holler, Derek Hansen, Curtis Taylor, PJ Vazel, Jonas Taiwah-Dodoo and Australia’s top 400m sprint coach, Mike Hurst.
Coach Banta has given every reader of the book a small insight into the some of the brightest minds in sprint coaching and literature to ever walk the earth. The ability to read some of the approaches which these coaches use with their athletes, provides time for the reader to reflect on their own practice, principles, philosophies and structures and how this information might fit in their own context.
I won’t lie, I have dog-eared a lot of Chapter 12, where Training Plans are presented, dissected and critiqued. Planning and programming is a huge interest area of mine and I am always looking to learn about how other coaches may design their cycles to address the needs of their athletes. For the coach in the early years of their career, you will literally have access to hundreds of workouts and training plans which could guide you in your coaching. And for those who have been coaching for a little bit longer, or a lot longer, some of the information presented may be affirming for what you are already doing.
It was not a cheap ordeal to ship 2.2kg across the pond but this is more than a book about sprinting; it’s a sprinting resource which coaches can refer back to across every season. A ‘book’ of this magnitude could not have been easy to put together, and so I commend Coach Banta for this contribution to the global sprinting community.