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Plans for 2015 MRA Track Practices
For 2015, we will use the methods from the CYO Coaching clinic to improve the experience for all our kids in the program. Please BRING a copy of this or have it on your Smart Phone.
This document is intended to provide some guidelines for practice – and is not mandatory. Use good judgement to decide what to use and when.
A sample on how we will run practice sessions is included at the end of the document.
Our focus for this Season is  A, B, C
Agility, Balance and Correct Form
Coaching Principles:

  1. Our season is short – our intent is to cover the basics. Our role is to help kids have fun while learning to run/jump/throw with correct form.
    • We can help find success by helping match the child to their interest to their ability.
    • We will make the last race/event the best one and will try and build up to the best performance at the end of the season.
  2. Track and field is an outdoor sport. Coaches must encourage your teams to dress for all weather. We have no formal permission to use the indoor facilities at the High School.
    • We will only cancel practice is weather is severe (Tornado, High Wind Ice). Otherwise we will be on the track.
    • The track is 10F lower temp than your front door. Kids need a hat, gloves and a outer layer they can run in.
  3. Track in perspective. The coach made us kneel on the track to demonstrate how big the track is when you are small. We need to be careful on appropriate distance for the younger ones
    • This year – we will start K-2 at sprints less then 50M and build up to longer distances.
  4. Warm-up is a critical part of the practice – and we will spend at least 20 mins on warm up.
  5. Correct form comes from good balance. Kids today find it hard to balance on one leg.
    • Introduce games into our practice sessions to encourage balance.
    • Examples include Hopscotch Hopping, Jump rope. We will have jump ropes available for practices.
  6. Agility – todays kids are losing the ability to be agile (accelerate, change direction, move laterally.
    • Use games to help them be more agile and to keep moving. Tag and modifications on Tag are helpful.
    • There are many jumping exercises to help with balance, strengthen and speed. We will also have 2 agility ladders that can help for jumps.
    • Lets try and keep our team moving and avoid sitting down at practices. Our kids get plenty of time to sit!
  7. More ideas for games can be found at IAAF – use the search function to find games to help kids become introduced to running, jumping, agility and balance. 
  8. Running Form: we will focus on form this year and make it age appropriate. Running drills should be 30-40M max. There are many resources on line to help running form. Some useful search teams include:
  9. Arm form: to run fast, the arms need to move fast and swing in a relaxed manner .
    • Correct arm movement, relaxed hands, relaxed shoulders and a still head can make a significant improvement for all levels (including coaches J)
    • Avoid hands as fists.
    •  “Hip to pit” or “pocket to pit” is a useful drill.
  10. Teach importance of cadence – and refrain from teaching over extension.
  11. Air is the fuel the drives running.
    • Need a neutral neck
    • Chest open
  12. Racing is the enemy of good form. This is a tough one, because all our kids (especially the younger ones) want to race.
    • We want to try and establish form before we start racing.
    • Racing is when the form can disappear.
  13. Long Jump
    • Drills above will teach the consistency of running form required for Long (and High Jump)
    • At the start of the season, the low temperature will mean that the Long and High Jump maybe unsafe (the sand can be like concrete at 32F). Please do not use the long jump area unless you have dug it over and are happy there is no risk for our team.
    • We can teach long jump form without the sand pit by using markings on infield. Specially drills:
      1. Accelerate to the line (board)
      2. Run consistently
      3. The distance in steps for the approach to the board should be approximately the age of the child (so 8-9 steps for an 8 year old).
    • We have 2 leads we are working for High Jump coaching.
  14. Relay
    • Teach kids to hold the baton (and only place on the ground). Even during practice, we should not see the baton be dropped.
    • Use static drills to teach handover – then build up to walking, jogging running.
    • Using a static or stationary approach means we can practice many times within one practice session.
    • We have several coaches (Kermode, Moore, Pettifer, Scheeser, Stahl) who can help with teaching Relay.
  15. Ubersense is a smart phone app we should consider to use during our practice sessions so we can show kids what they are actually doing vs. what they think they are doing.

New: Outline for Practices
Intent: Based on Coaching Clinic and feedback from last year, Initial practices will focus on building a base and correct form only. We should not encourage racing (we have plenty of time for this!).
We will also use the infield to focus on games, form and drills (especially for K-2).
We have purchases new equipment to help with coaching on infield including:

  • Cones
  • Agility Ladder (Jumping, balance)
  • Small hurdles (Jumping, obstacle courses)
  • Tennis Balls (for relay or throwing)
  • Soft balls (for throwing events)

For practice 1 and 2, could all coaches join 20 mins before start time to plan practice session and demonstrate the notes above.
The Long Jump and High Jump areas are not available for initial practice sessions.

  1. Warm-up will be held in 3 groups – 20 Mins
    1. 5-6: focus on running laps – warm up pace, then dynamic stretching
    2. 3-4: dynamic stretching, followed by 1-2 laps
    3. K-2: Use infield only – no track for warm up. Have kids moving – e.g. running in place, bunny hops, jumping jacks, small running games
  2. Drills to develop correct Form:
    1. Grades 5-6 will use track lanes 4, 5, 6 – 20 mins
    2. Grades 3-4 will use track lanes 1-3 – 20 mins
    3. Grades K, 1 and will use the infield – we will divide the infield into 3 areas  - one for each grade 20 mins
  3. Track Basics
    1. Grades 5-6 and 3-4 move to infield. Focus on “4” Form, A skip, arm move movements – short 30-40 form runs.
    2. Grade 2 use back straight. Grades 1 use front straight from 110M spur to 50M; Grade K use finish line area. Teach basics of track – lanes, running in lane, starts and finishes. Include short cool down for K-2.
  4. Intervals (for Grades 3-4 and 5-6 only)
    1. 3-4 use infield to run intervals (Hard Run – recover – repeat)
    2. 5-6 use track