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Workouts for sprinters

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

I coach a youth track team ages 9-15. We compete in sprint events of 100m, 200m, 400m & 4x100m relay, and distance events of 800m and the mile. Is there any way I can get some workouts for my practices. The majority of the coaching experience has left the team over the last two years. I want to make it fun but also get the kids in shape. Over the last two years I have found that they are bored and tired by the time our championship meet comes around in early June. We currently have a 6 meet outdoor season that runs from early April until late May. In addition to the dual or tri meets we have a relay meet in late May and a championship meet in early June. We are scheduled to start practices in mid-March. We usually have open practices from Tuesday through Friday for 1 hour each afternoon and a 2 hour practice on Saturday morning, 10 - 12. This schedule was developed to try and accommodate the many busy schedules. The league, has about 14 teams from all over Morris and Sussex counties in New Jersey. I would have to say that the league is pretty competitive. All the athletes compete in each meet. But they can only compete in two individual events, a relay and 1 field event. We score these meets by having a scoring heat for each age and sex, for the 100m, 200m 400m and the 4x100m relay. The 800m and mile are scored based on the first 3 or 4 finishers depending on the meet, dual or tri. Most of the teams are considered feeder programs for the local high schools and many of the athletes go on to compete in the local Junior Olympics qualifier meets. Those who move on usually combine together as a league entry. As for our practices, we start with an easy stretch and an easy 800m jog. After that it's plyometrics, drills and then we break out by sprinters and distance runners. This is where I need help. I've done drills like bunny-hops, lean and go's, skipping drills, high knee drills and butt kicks. I need to develop workouts that will address speed development, endurance, how to set a pace, in addition to keeping it fun. Any clues? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Greg

Answer

Dear Greg, You do many things well. Keep the practices fun and try to have a regular routine with some variations day to day. Keeping in mind the age of the athletes, speed development is done fairly simply. We focus a lot on plyometrics, several short reps with the highest possible quality. We look for perfect form. After a good warmup, a drill we use for high speed is repeat sprints of 40-50 meters, breaking the kids into "teams" for shuttle run "races". Again, we look for high speed using good form. I don't want the kids running fast with poor mechanics. It is important that the kids not get injured. Use short sprint games such as shuttle runs and relays. We look for a level of consistent training over time because the goal is really to make the kids enjoy running. We want to get the kids stronger and teach proper form. Fun first, Coach Mick and John

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