The ABC’s of Running:
(Beginner - 15 min)
This is a progressive drill focused on the bio-mechanics of running (Agility, Balance, Coordination & Speed). As such, it takes the athlete through three distinct movements in running technique, each with specific focal points, to be practised and perfected at learning (slow) speed before trying to be applied at full speed. These three movements are known as: the A-march, the B- skip and the C-march/skip. Interval sprints between fifty and one hundred percent of maximal exertion may also be used for advanced reinforcement of technique following repetitions of the three movements outlined below.
How to teach:
- Beginner: Begin with a brief introduction on “setting the core” (abs flexed as if about to be punched in the stomach), a major component of the proverbial athletic or ready position.
- Advanced: Athletic Position - Feet parallel (hip width apart), knees slightly bent (1/4 squat aka peak power position), staying on “the balls (forefoot)” of your feet, leaning slightly forward, with head/chest up, a neutral spine and your "shoulders set."
Warm-Up: (practice techniques above) - Remove Players' Sticks
- 3-5 minutes of a continuous activity.
- Any form of a dynamic warm-up which takes the working muscle groups through their range of motion.
- “March like a soldier,” in a straight line 20 metres, at walking speed.
- Points of emphasis: high knees (knee hike, exaggerated), toes up (dorsi flexion), also concentrating on the coordination of the arms with the legs (opposite arm with opposite leg).
- Arm movements should be “cheek to cheek,” from butt cheek to face cheek respectively. Normal arm bend is from 90 to 110 degrees, with hands slightly clenched for propulsion (individual preference).
- Arm and leg movements should be in a straight line forward and a conscious effort should be made for them to not cross the mid-line of the body.
- Start by having athletes bouncing twice on each foot repetitively, from one foot to the other.
- A quick “two step” or skip, on each foot. First step is a simple ground contact of the foot; second is an exaggerated knee hike (knee to chest). Alternate back and forth for 20-40 metres. Keep core (abs/lower back) “tight” for stability (same principles as A-March still apply).
- B’s help students get a feel for the rhythm and coordination of running and "quick ground contacts."
- Same as A’s and B’s, but knee hike is now followed by an extension at the knee. A subsequent clawing or pawing action of the foot, brings the athlete back to the original starting position.
- C-March should be done after A-March; C-Skip after B-skip.
- The C’s are done to mimic the action of the hamstring in stride. The clawing/pawing action mimics the ground contact that propels the athlete forward.
- Sprints can be done following the above exercises, at the discretion of the coach. Reps should commence between 50-100% of max sprint speed.
Reference: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Thomas R. Baechle & Roger W. Earle.