Rookie sprint coach!

I don’t think anyone wants to reply b/c with younger folks you want to keep it natural as possible.
Show them how to run correctly (drills…working on only one thing at a time) and you will not nearly need as many cues as you think. Keep it simple.
You are already on the right path by coming here…searching archives, getting the products, asking questions…

Also, consider the other parents may be using different cues as well. Talk about complicated… if so.

I noticed you registered here this year…have you seen the thread charlie on sprinting? Blast from the past…

Great link, thanks! My athletes are from 13 and up so they can take some pointers. And my workout is the only pure sprint session Im afraid.


Thank you to Balance for sending the link.
Thank you hermok for joining the site and also purchasing information to increase your knowledge.
You are embarking on a wonderful thing offering help to kids. I think its an area that needs the most attention yet receives the lowest quality advice and expertise.
Having only one day a week is fine. My thoughts right now are to design the most important work Monday when you are there , repeat that session again … likely the next session and the third session ( I guess I am assuming you are meeting them 3 x a week but you have not said) think about a tempo based training session that the parents won’t be able to screw up too much. Ideally you want to build in the parents as a wild card. ASk them to encourage with positive comments and stick to the que ( what did hermok tell you to do? ) Otherwise it will be too confusing for the kids to get varied feedback. The feedback loop is critical. If you don’t know for sure what to say , say nothing and watch and ask yourself questions.
Key idea for ques… = try to avoid specific ques like " head down and active arms" . Please don’t worry about the fact that you have already done this. What does active arms mean? Your most valuable tool right now is your eyes and ears.
10 is a good number in a group. It is not too big or small. You will begin to see a pattern with each of them. Likely there is one , maybe two in the group that will stand out.
Watch the faces of your athletes. STOP their session when you see any straining what so ever in their faces. Straining is first indication of a problem that has already happened. When you see straining you need to recall the volumes and cut it back next time before the straining occurs. Don’t worry if you can not detect this right off the bat. As you get to know each person , you will see the ques of fatigue. If and when you master this ability you have a large advantage on most coaches who work with children.
Btw= if you have any facility you have everything you need. You are luckier than most. CHarlie used to tell people if you can get a 3o meter straight away you have everything you need. Focus on what you have now.
Balance has given you terrific advice regarding keeping things simple. AS you go through the material here you will understand more how saying less to the athlete is best.
Charlie speaks a great deal about " paralysis by analysis". Sprinting is a hind brain activity so while analyzing is ok kids usually need different in the early , first stages of their training.
Your job as a coach is to set your athletes up to succeed. Design sessions so they are not thinking about sprinting. Further , they are not fit enough or strong enough to execute the cues you are likely to deliver.
Have you tried clap starts yet? No brain - er drill. ( literally you dont need to think anything in order to do it and you as a coach or a parent will not need to do or say anything to get the athletes to do it either. You can get any and all levels of athletes to do this drill.

  1. You can divide them into 2 groups according to boys and girls/ age/ size , mix it up and then do some at the end with all of them… Make is fun. a game and you can use this drill as a marker and point of reference for you and or for them. I would use this for yourself and keep the results in your head and as you near comp potentially use this as a motivator. Too much emphasis on who is beating who / at what point early on will take the focus off what you are trying to accomplish / Which is? Right now, in the beginning you want to get them to feel what running fast feels like. They will know and then it will be much easier for them to repeat it as the distances go up.
  2. The drill is super easy. EAch person lays flat on the ground, nose touching the line of the 60 meter start , each person is looking down and listening for you to CLAP or whistle or replicate a sound or que that sounds like a start. This is a great start drill as well.
  3. The kids respond to the sound ( I usually whistle or clap ) and run to 10 meters. Walk back recovery. I would begin my session with this drill after the warm up , after the drills. … ( how long is your warmup / do you time it every monday and is the warm up the same all sessions? Each an important question to ask yourself as these are ques of information that feeds your information about each person.
  4. kids love this drill. I would do 3 to 4 reps in one set / stretch and shake legs for 2 to 3 minutes and repeat 1 or 2 more sets / week one for example. ( that is a huge volume diffference I have suggested but it is difficult to suggest. Over time you will see some variability with volume tolerance and then you can do slight changes… Try to be careful how you do that early on as you dont want some kids feeling as though they get to do less etc… And others get to do more… Everyone is trained to think more is better in training but when it comes to sprinting more needs to be of the highest quality with complete and total rest. And they are likely a bit too young to understand this yet and that is ok.
    My only other comment right now is to thinking about your chosen volume of work I see so far and do more work looking into if these volumes are allowing the highest quality to be repeated? Do the 30’s look as good as the 20’s do in your opinion? If you start next week say on Monday Dec 3rd with the clap drills watch what is happening technically to the kids. Compare what you are seeing there when they do the 20 meters. I also want to know what break you are giving between 3x 20 meters and what break you are giving between each complete set?

Thanks for taking the time Angela! Much appreciated.

Week cycle:
Mondays - sprints ( Me)
Wed - Plyometrics/Strenght (High Jump coach)
Thur - Tempo (parents)
(Sat - sprints) after newyears

I can only coach them on mondays because I have small kids and often work weekends.
I encourage them to workout saturdays. Some do, but I think they need someone there with them.
My 2 17 year olds do alot of bodybuilding type workouts.

I dont see why I shouldnt give them specific cues like keeping the head down? I understand that the head should be an extention of the back
But when the athlete poops straight up after just a few meters, I feel they need something clearcut to work on.
Then again Ive felt the “paralysis by analysis” myself as a runner.
The clap drill might be excellent for just that. Theres only room for 2 athletes at a time. I could start them on different places on the track.

I try to do 3min rest between runs and 5min between sets.
Is 9 runs a session a good number to start out with? Looks like they can do more, but I want to keep the quality high.

The warmup is the same: 5-10 min jog, stretching, Drills, strides.

Let me know if Ive understood you correctly.

Assigning specific cues to try and make posture and gate changes while athletes are still learning how to run and growing is a good way to artificially set limitations or introduce problems further down the road. This is one of those situations where it’s probably more efficient to aim for those big improvements via general fitness, flexibility and repetition of the act of sprinting versus trying to correct the minutiae which when the runners involved are this young, really doesn’t amount to improvements in time.

How about saying try not to pop up? Try the clap drills and they won’t have to think, you wont have to say much , just watch. Let them learn to relax and have fun and you will see how things fall into the place. Experiment a little bit…, I am only pointing out to be mindful of what you say and the how the cue will potentially get the athlete thinking too much. Say they put their head down but then its too much. So then you comment on that as well. I have seen this before often. " do this, no that, no this, I meant that."… think of yourself as you mentioned and you will learn best from trying a few things based on feedback you get from their running and as you continue to learn what works. I am not saying the cue " keep your head down" is wrong to use. I am saying I feel you might be better served to try a few other approaches as well and judge for yourself. Talk to other coaches too but qualify who you speak to. In general try to learn from those you know something about.

Then again Ive felt the “paralysis by analysis” myself as a runner.
The clap drill might be excellent for just that. Theres only room for 2 athletes at a time. I could start them on different places on the track.

( It’s fine that you only have room for 2 at a time. Rotate the drill and mix it up and keep it fun .)

I try to do 3min rest between runs and 5min between sets.

( I was curious why at this age you did not start with 10’s? Or have you and you don’t do them any more? Are you using a falling start or what are you doing for the 20’s , 30’s? )

Is 9 runs a session a good number to start out with? Looks like they can do more, but I want to keep the quality high.

( Remember you can add but you can’t take away so keeping the numbers lower and the quality higher is desirable.
Is 9 runs a session a good number? YOu kinda have to be the judge of that. Your guideline is to gear the runs according to the cues you see with your athletes. You will have some idea of the number you wish for them to accomplish but then you always need to be prepared to stop if you see their form deteriorate. Next speed session you will want to end the runs a bit before you see the decline. They might need an extra week or two at that volume of runs . It will also depend on how fast they are going as well. )

The warmup is the same: 5-10 min jog, stretching, Drills, strides.

Let me know if Ive understood you correctly.[/QUOTE]

( I think you are understanding what my feedback has been correctly. It might be nice to hear from some others and what they think about what you are doing and what I have suggested based on what they are doing.
If not I think you are doing a good job and asking the right questions. )

good comment thanks Janic

I totally get this and will change my communicational approach.

(( I was curious why at this age you did not start with 10’s? Or have you and you don’t do them any more? Are you using a falling start or what are you doing for the 20’s , 30’s?))

The runner gets to decide the start( falling, 3point or 4 point). I didnt do anything under 30m myself, maybe sometimes with blocks. Why stop a run halfway through their acceleration fase? To create more power over the first steps?

week 49
3x15m clap drills

They liked the clap drills, and it looked useful.
I will look for more alternative drills.

It’s interesting that you allow each person to choose what type of start they use. I would want each of them doing something similar with the end goal to get them each doing a falling start. ( they need to be able to do so effectively however and some might not be ready to do a falling or crouched start so much right now)
Are you saying you only started speed sessions with 30 meters? And sometimes you did speed with less than 30 meters from the blocks?
Starting speed work for young kids with 10 meters would be kinda tough in the beginning unless it was with a clap drill.
I am not sure I understand your question " why stop a run halfway etc…" ?

Angela, how do you build up to/progress to a falling start? monday: 5x30m

5x20 5x50m

Some people might be able to do a falling start right away. You have to watch and see for yourself if they are doing it correctly or the way you feel it is supposed to look based on how you have learned.
Facts = falling starts are tough for beginners and non beginners. Start trying them after the full warm up has been completed for fun. Dedicate a few runs over 10 meters before you begin official speed work. Let’s say you will do one set of 3 x 10 meters of falling starts before speed. The clap starts we spoke about built into your training will be a building block exercise to assist their development overall and also for falling starts. Getting stronger in general over time will also improve each persons ability to do falling starts.
It would be interesting to hear how other people have taught their athletes how to do a falling start but this is some of what I remember helping me.

The club bought electronic timing system. Did 50 meters, and timed 30m and 20m flying.
Only winter meet 4th of february. We need to work on block starts up to then. Later I will incorporate falling starts like youve mentioned Angela

Are you doing any push up position starts? or medball throws from the gpp video? These can help improve block starts in short periods of time.

No medball throws from the gpp or pushup starts. Ill try em!
I havent bought any videos yet. Recommendations?
I could do push up starts as a variation to the clap drills Angela mentioned in earlier posts.

Send me a note through info or let me know what you products you have if any. I was reviewing Fundamentals in Speed and I thought it might be very helpful for you to see someone getting coached to do a start.

Done Angela!

Many athletes felt nausiated and dizzy. Long time since last hard workout I guess so we cut it short

30m blockstarts

One of my runners “wobbels” from side to side when he runs.
He isnt very limber so Ive given him streching homework. Could there be other reasons?