If you haven’t yet received the memo, here it is: gone are the days of spending the first 15 minutes of practice doing static stretching. Basically, the research says doing that falls somewhere between a waste of time (best-case-scenario) and detrimental (worst-case-scenario). Our trainer compares it to a rubber band – is a rubber band more elastic when it’s cold or when it’s warm? If you want to static stretch after your workout, you won’t hear me complaining, but don't require it beforehand.
What you want to do is a dynamic warm-up. Ease the body into movements that will gradually demand more and more front it. We do these after a short jog – ideally 6-8 minutes (though it is usually pulling teeth just to get my sprinters up to 800m). The first half of these (Leg Swings through Backwards) are basic loosening drills and could easily be altered, rearranged, or replaced. Starting with Ankle Pops, we get into our sprint technique drills. They are still part of the dynamic warm-up but also serve to teach and promote proper sprinting technique – something even distance runners can benefit from.
We do the following routine anywhere from 2-5 times a week during the track and cross country seasons. I'll often start the season at 10 meters down and back for each drill and progress to 20 meters. The goal should be to get in as many ground contacts as possible, not to cover the distance as fast as possible. You'll be surprised how much these can get the heart rate going when done in succession. Remember: these are part of the workout for the day! Athletes will tend to want to take it easy on these, but once they hit the the sprint mechanics portion, you want them popping - quick, precise drills to create quick, precise runners.
I first started doing these in college and thought they were a ridiculous waste of time (and embarrassing given my lack of coordination), but was amazed as I slowly mastered them and saw my speed improve.
These can also be used for football, soccer, etc. - any sport with an emphasis on straight-line speed.
You can watch all the videos in about 6 minutes and refer back to them as necessary.
|1||Leg Swings 00:28|
|2||Hamstring Walk 00:36|
|3||Slide Step 00:13|
|4||Side Step (aka Tapioca) 00:16|
|6||Dance Kicks 00:27|
|8||Ankle Pops 00:14|
|9||Butt Kicks 00:20|
|12||Quick Leg 00:17|
|14||Summary - another look 04:36|
I am the head cross country and track and field coach at Cheney High School in Cheney, KS. It is a 3A school with 234 students. My goal is to provide a resource for coaches and athletes, especially those who may be new to the sport or unsure on how they should be organizing their practice time.
I started coaching in 2004 at Wichita East (Jim Ryun’s alma mater) before ending up at Cheney, my own alma mater. I am USATF Level 2 certified in endurance, sprints/hurdles/relays, jumps, and youth specialization.
Check out my ever in progress blog/website at www.tracknerds.com