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New coach needs help

Answered By Larson Rett


I'm a new coach, they were looking for volunteers and I signed up with no experience. The kids range from 8-12 and have shown interest in the 100-200-400 meter run. Any drills or advice on making them faster?


At that age you want to keep things FUN first and EDUCATIONAL second. It's the blend of those two things that are going to make you successful, because if you know all the best drills in the world and you can't make them fun, you're not going to get a 10 year old excited about seeing you every week. My advice would be to mix traditional speed work (intervals that are timed because kids love a stopwatch) and distance work (nothing over 800-1600m) with: 1) Jump rope: this could be the single best exercise for teaching young athletes coordinated movement, cardiovascular strength, and building basic plyometric power. Plus, there's lots of variety to be had, it's a great change of pace, and it's self-policing. 2) Relay races: the more they run fast, the faster they'll get. And don't be afraid to make them backpedal, carioca, etc. A mistake track coaches make is only having their athletes run linearly forward. Make sure you're keeping their bodies balanced in a fun, competitive environment. 3) Basic strength: add squats, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and rows to the routine to start working on their strength. And once they're able to handle the exercises with just body weight don't be afraid to give them some extra. Don't worry - you won't stunt their growth, but you will make them excited that they're lifting weights.

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