Jul 18, 2017 • 4 min read
Running—and sprinting in particular—is a fundamental skill that supports a multitude of other activities. If you know how to sprint properly, you’re more likely to enjoy a wide range of sports and activities that emphasize this form of running.
Have you ever gone to a school track meet or sports day for your kids? Have you noticed some kids are clearly better sprinters? They’re not just faster—they look better when they run. Same thing when you watch a youth soccer game or even a simple game of tag. Meanwhile, some kids look like a randomized mass of flailing arms and legs, and their heads seem to waggle in the wind like dashboard bobbleheads.
Why the difference?
The kids with decent technique are not natural born sprinters. They simply developed good running mechanics at some point in their lives, whereas the other kids haven’t. Most kids are never taught how to run properly.
Here are the basic elements of correct sprinting technique:
You can teach these basic mechanics to kids ages seven years and older without lecturing them on human anatomy. Simply coach them through the movements while they run:
Watch their movements as they speed up, and give them reminders where needed (e.g., keep your head still, bend your elbows, pump hip-to-lip, lift your knees more).
If you teach kids in this manner, their eyes will see how it looks to sprint correctly, their bodies will learn how it feels, and their ears will hear verbal cues for remembering key elements of technique.
Congratulations! You have helped a new generation to sprint correctly. From playing tag to chasing a soccer ball, they will use this essential skill in more ways than you will ever imagine.
Jim Grove is a contributing editor with Active for Life, a nonprofit organization committed to helping parents raise happy, healthy, physically literate kids. For more articles like this one, please visit ActiveforLife.com.