COACHING CUES

• Keep head up and look forward (do not look around at other competitors/friends)
• Relax shoulders, neck and head
• Shoulders, hips and abdomen should all be facing the front (do not twist from side to side)
• Run in a straight line, with arms and legs all in line
• Stay tall with high hips (do not sink)
• Run on front part of foot (but not on tippy toes)
• Swing arms from the shoulder
• Arms bent about 90 degrees and keep them bent through the arm swing action
• High knee lift
• Cycle action with legs (foot comes up to bum then out in front and then down again)
• The foot should land directly underneath body
• Land on the front part (ball) of the foot
• Stay light on feet (avoid a heavy foot plant)
• Run past the finish line (don’t stop on it or before it)
• Do not stop suddenly (slow down gradually)


SPRINT DRILLS

• Quick feet - all stand on line and move feet back and  forth as quickly as possible for 10 secs (x2)
• Quick side hops - turn sideways, feet together hopping each side of line as quick as possible for 10 secs (x2)
• High knees - for 20 metres then jog out 10-20 metres - repeat
• Straight legs - as above
• Karaoke - as above
• High hops - as above
• Practise arm movement - 90º north south, ear to pocket. Standing and then sitting
• Starts from lying down position etc. can also be practised.

• Pyramid runs - running to cones in pairs and walking back for recovery. First run to 10 metres, next 20, 30 etc. Coach should stand at cones so they know which to run to and to watch for form - arm movement, leg movement, head, eyes, relaxed etc. 
Resistance bands (bike tubes) can be used for first couple of sprints.

• Wall/Fence High knees - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4prDX-Z-Ho

http://academyofsportspeed.com/9-free-speed-drill-videos/

General sprint drills

The following are an example of general sprint drills.

Walking on Toes
Aims - develop balance and strengthen the lower leg muscles (reduce shin splints)
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - walking on the balls of the feet - free leg to be lifted so that the thigh is parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and the toes dorsi flexed (this end position can be held for a second or two to develop balance and a feel of the free leg position)

Walking on Heels
Aims - develop balance and strengthen the lower leg muscles (reduce shin splints)
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - walking on the heels of the feet - free leg to be lifted so that the thigh is parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and the toes dorsi flexed (this end position can be held for a second or two to develop balance and a feel of the free leg position)

Sprint Arm Action
Aims - develop shoulder muscle power and endurance
Amount - 10 to 20 seconds
Action - assume the lunge position, brace abdominals, maintain a straight back, fast sprint arm action

Leg Cycling
Aims - develop correct leg sprint action and strengthen hamstring muscles
Amount - 10 to 20 seconds on each leg
Action - stand next to a wall or rail that you can hold to maintain balance, stand tall, brace the abdominals, stand on the leg nearest the wall, lift the thigh of the other leg so it is parallel with the ground, the lower leg vertical and toes dorsiflexed, sweep the leg down and under your body, pull the heel up into the buttocks, cycle the leg though to the front, pull toes up, bring upper thigh through to be parallel with the ground, extend the lower leg and commence the next cycle

Leg drives
Aims - develop hip flexor strength and speed
Amount - 10 to 20 seconds for each leg
Action - stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at chest height, position your feet so that the body is straight and at 45 degrees to the wall, keep you neck in line with your spine (head up), bring one leg up so the thigh is parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and toes dorsiflexed (starting position), drive the foot down towards the ground, as the toes make contact with the ground, quickly pull the foot up and return the leg to its starting position

Butt Kicks
Aims - develop correct leg sprint action in the mid section following the drive off the rear leg
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - fast leg movement on the balls of the feet - drive the knee up and bring the heel to the underside of the backside and the thigh parallel with the ground

Skips
Aims - to develop correct leg and foot action in preparation for the foot strike
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - skipping on the balls of the feet - free leg to be lifted so that the thigh is parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and the toes dorsi flexed

Side strides crossover
Aims - to increase flexibility and range of hip movement
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - steady jog sideways on the balls of the feet - right leg across the front of left leg, left leg across the back of the right leg, right leg across the back of the left leg, left leg across the front of right leg and repeat this sequence.
Skip and clap
Aims - to increase flexibility and range of horizontal leg movement
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - skip on the balls of the feet - bring the whole leg up so it is horizontal with the ground, toes dorsi flexed and at the same time clap the hands together under the leg. The arms then come back up to the side to form a crucifix.

Skip Claw
Aims - to develop the drive down action of the leading leg
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - skip on the balls of the feet - bring the leg up so the thigh is at least horizontal with the ground, lower leg is vertical, toes dorsi flexed and then drive the foot down so that the ball of the foot strikes the ground below your hip

Skip for height
Aims - to develop rear leg drive
Amount - two repetitions over 20 to 30 metres
Action - skipping on the balls of the feet - emphasis is on the rear leg drive and drive back of the elbow - free leg to be lifted so that the thigh is parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and the toes dorsi flexed

Plyometric work
Leg Plyometric drills can be include as appropriate e.g. single leg hopping, bounding, bunny hops, tuck jumps - one set of 5 to 10 repetitions (aim for quality not quantity)

Chest pass
Aims - develop shoulder and chest strength and speed
Amount - 10 to 20 seconds
Action - stand approximately 2 metres away and facing a wall, hold a light medicine ball (2-5kg) in your hands on its sides, knees relaxed, brace abdominals, keep back straight, push the ball powerfully away against the wall, meet the rebound with bent arms and hands ready to immediately push the ball back (do not catch then push back)

Speed Hop
Aims - develop reactive ability of your leg muscles
Amount - 10 to 20 seconds on each leg
Action - brace abdominals, keep back straight, look forward (not down), hop on the spot keeping the legs relatively straight (knees not locked), as the ball of the foot lands push explosively back up, minimise knee bend on landing

Speed Hops Leg Cycling
Aims - develop fast sprint leg cycling action - see Leg Cycling exercise above
Amount - 5 to hops on each leg
Action - brace abdominals, keep back straight, look forward (not down), hop forward on one leg, pull the heel up into the buttocks, cycle the leg though to the front, pull toes up, bring upper thigh through to be parallel with the ground, extend the lower leg and land on the ball of the foot, immediately explode back up and commence the next cycle

Run outs
Aims - to develop a tall, relaxed and smooth sprint action
Amount - six repetitions over 40 metres
Action - tip start and gradually build up of speed over the 40 metres - first two reps focus on a tall action, next two on tall and relaxed and the last two on tall, relaxed and smooth
Aims - to develop the elbow drive
Amount - three repetitions over 100 metres (60 metres effort + 40 metres run out)
Action - tip start and over the first 30 metres gradually build up the speed and a tall, relaxed and smooth action - at 30 metres gradually add elbow drive to reach full sprint speed at 50 metres - maintain the tall, relaxed, smooth and drive action to 60 metres - sprinting through the 60 metres point is essential - gradually slow down over the next 40 metres


SPRINT REFERENCES

www.brianmac.co.uk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KzjLwOJBD8

 

 

How hill sprints make you run faster

Tim Kauppinen explains why hill training will improve your speed

It is well known that adding resistance to your sprints can bring about great gains in speed, especially during the initial or "drive" phase of your sprint. Overcoming resistance will help you overcome inertia when you are starting from a stationary position. In other words, hill sprints help you go from a static starting position to full speed faster. In addition to this, the slightly shortened stride length during hill sprints promotes longer ground contact, which is also key to the "drive" phase - when you are looking to "rip back the track." Dragging tires and sleds, towing parachutes and pushing against partners are other common forms of this type of training. The great thing about hills is that you do not need additional equipment or a training partner to get an incredible resistance sprinting workout.

Hill sprints teach proper knee lift

Another commonly known fact is that sprinting with "knees up" can make you faster. This high knee lift is important to loading your leg and allowing you to step down forcefully to push your body forward. Running uphill forces you to lift your knees high - similar to how you would run over mini hurdles or through shallow water or deep snow. High knees will make you bound like a gazelle during the middle or "float" phase of your sprint.

Hill sprints teach proper "toe up" position

Along with teaching proper knee lift, hill sprints force dorsiflexion of the foot. You must pull your toes up towards your shins when you are going uphill. This position works the anterior tibialis muscle on the outside front of your lower leg. This muscle is essential for running fast (and vertical velocity). The farther up you can flex your foot, the more power you can exert into the ground on foot contact. Think of your "toe up" position as a "loaded" position - ready to unload power into the ground. As an added bonus, strong anterior tibialis can help you to avoid shin splints problems.

Hill sprints strengthen your ankles

Besides helping you avoid the most common injury in athletics, the ankle sprain, strong ankles lead to improvements in stride length. The stronger your ankles become, the harder you can push off the ground to move your body forward. The harder the push, the longer the time you stay in the air between foot contacts resulting in a longer stride length. Since speed can be thought of as a combination of turnover and stride length, stronger ankles can become a major area for improvement. Note: It is not just sprinters who benefit here, even distance runners can shave time off their races by covering more ground with each stride.

Hill sprints promote hamstring safety

Finally, sprinting hills can give you a full intensity workout without ever getting up to your full 100% speed. Since you never reach top speed, your hamstrings are at little risk. This can be important in early season training (especially in cold weather). Now, this does not mean that you should ignore your hamstrings. When your conditioning and strength improve and the weather is warm, be sure to include flat (and even downhill) sprints to work this important area of your legs. Stronger hamstrings - especially if they are more balanced with your quadriceps - are another effective way to run faster.

Finally

There you have my top five reasons why hill sprints can make you faster. In my opinion, you will get a huge number of benefits out of this one simple exercise. I have used them, my athletes have used them, and many professional and Olympic athletes have done the same. No matter what your sport or activity, add some hill sprints into your training program and watch your performances improve.