Biomechanical and Psychological Analysis of High School, Intercollegiate, and Elite Long-Distance Runners


  • Claribel Solorio Whittier College
  • Ann Hickey



biomechanical efficiency, long-distance runners, psychological skills


It is undeniable that efficiency and mentality are crucial to achieving optimal athletic performance during competition. However, development of psychological skills is often neglected, particularly in lower levels of competition. The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare the biomechanical efficiency and psychological skills use among high school, intercollegiate, and elite long-distance runners. Data were gathered from six individuals, one male and one female for each of the three assessed levels of competition. Biomechanics is a discipline that, when applied to sports, functions as a method of identifying “ideal” joint positions and movements that allow athletes to obtain optimal efficiency. Mean deviations from the ideal values during the stance phase were 9.8° for high school, 11.35° for intercollegiate, and 5.85° for elite. Mean scores of the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory Questionnaire-28 were 51 for high school, 50 for intercollegiate, and 63.5 for elite. Mean scores of the Sports Imagery Questionnaire were 76.5 for high school, 78.5 for intercollegiate, and 90.5 for elite. In this study, elite athletes outperformed high school and intercollegiate athletes in efficiency and psychological strengths; however, few differences were observed between high school and intercollegiate athletes. Additionally, discrepancies in psychological skills appeared to be more prominent than differences in efficiency. This difference could result from efficiency being emphasized even in lower levels of competition. On the other hand, psychological skills training is completely ignored, or inadequate if employed, in lower levels of competition. For this sample, individuals in lower levels of competition lacked the psychological skills acquisition that was present in elite runners.

Author Biography

Claribel Solorio, Whittier College

Graduating Senior in The Kinesiology and Nutrition Science Depeartment