Charlie was best known as the coach of world record setting sprinter Ben Johnson, however that only scratches the surface of who Charlie was. Charlie was an Olympic sprinter himself, representing Canada at the Munich Olympics in 1972 when he was ranked 5th in the world in the 100m. From that beginning Charlie shaped his future career as one of the most revolutionary training coaches in history.
Charlie brought many new training methods on speed enhancement and training to athletes across a diverse sporting background. As much as he was known for coaching sprinters Charlie also worked with professional football, hockey and soccer athletes over many years. His work with athletes who had not yet reached the world class level provided a base of knowledge on how to bridge the gap between good and great.
Unfortunately, the events of the 1988 Olympics and the aftermath of Charlie testifying to the world of his belief that performance enhancing drugs were rampant in the athletic world detracts from the respect Charlie’s body of work deserves. The false impression given in the popular press was of drugs being a panacea for success and consequently much of the underlying training techniques were ignored. Charlie chronicled all of this in his bestselling book Speed Trap (available for download on this site as well as Amazon for the Kindle). Although the narrative of Speed Trap does culminate in the events of the Seoul Olympics, these events are really of secondary importance and only constitute a small portion of the book. Instead the book should be seen as a exposition on high performance training and is really a stepping stone to exploring the more technical works of the man.
Charlie Francis passed away on May 12, 2010 after a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Angela Coon, and his young son, James. Angela as owner of this site, and a world class sprint hurdler herself, has taken on the role of curator to the works of Charlie. It is a work in progress which will be improved constantly over time. The evolution of Charlie’s coaching methods and the science behind his training techniques has been captured on video as well as in print and are available for sale on this site. The technical concepts Charlie brought to training are deep and involved, yet he was a master in conveying them eloquently and easily to a diverse audience. With the help of many dedicated individuals, Charlie’s work will be brought into more mainstream view in the years to come and his place in history as a coach of the highest level will be cemented.
Probably some of the best descriptions of Charlie and his training techniques were eloquently written by reviewers of Speed Trap on Amazon.com where by the reviewers said:
"…exciting read for coaches interested in following the development of some of the world's fastest men and women in the way that it should be and is done."
"In the course of reading about Charlie's training as
an Olympic sprinter himself and the subsequent evolution of his
coaching methods, the reader is treated to perhaps the best education on
the technical aspects of sprinting ever put into print."
"I have learned alot from this book and it describes the training methods Charlie learned and the transformation to his own training system."
"I have read the book several dozen times and often
use it as a reference … I cannot recommend this book more highly for
those interested specifically in sprinting or just training in general."