Youth athletes can greatly benefit from performing drills which apply smaller amounts of resistance and aid in teaching youth how to move and control their bodies. As youth athletes progress in their sports they will undoubtedly be using running and sprinting in their athletic activity. Teaching youth athletes how to use proper running mechanics while they are young will help them develop better running form as they age, resulting in a faster, more agile athlete. Once athletes become older they can begin to add weight training into their workouts to continue to maximize their speed and quickness.
This youth speed training drill teaches athlete how to run faster and improve on directional changes by taking them through a series of resisted sprints which implement different levels of directional changes.
Training Youth How To Run Faster
Youth athletes will need a set of Kbands and 3 Speed and Agility Cones to perform this kids sprint training. Youth athletes must first pick a resistance which is suitable for the youth athletes athletic ability. If coaches or athletes notice the resistance from the Kbands constantly pulling the knees together or altering running form then a lighter amount of resistance should be applied. If athletes are able to complete the youth training drill with relative ease then a higher level of resistance bands can be used. Starting with the lightest resistance, the Kbands Resistance Bands range from yellow, red, green, and blue being the heaviest resistance.
Youth athletes will attach the Kbands above the knees and arrange the Speed and Agility Cones in a straight line with 5 yards between the Speed and Agility Cones. Athletes will perform the youth speed training exercise in three phases. The first phase of the training requires the athlete to explosively sprint to the farthest Speed and Agility Cone and then quickly backpedal to the starting Speed and Agility Cone. Athletes will perform this phase of the youth speed training for 2-5 resisted repetitions.
The second phase of the speed training for youth involves athletes explosively sprinting toward the farthest Speed and Agility Cone, backpedaling to the middle Speed and Agility Cone, maintain their momentum while quickly turning the body around so they are facing the starting Speed and Agility Cone and explosively sprinting through the first Speed and Agility Cone. When performing this phase of the youth training, athletes should alternate turning left and right at the middle Speed and Agility Cone. This will train the athlete to practice moving in either direction and help prepare them for athletic competition. Athletes will perform 2-5 repetitions of this phase of the youth training.
The final phase of the speed training for youth will combine elements of the first two phases of the youth sprint training. Athletes will explosively sprint out to the middle Speed and Agility Cone, quickly backpedal to the starting Speed and Agility Cone, sprint back out to the far Speed and Agility Cone, backpedal to the middle cone, turn their bodies so they are facing the starting Speed and Agility Cone and sprint through that cone. Athletes will perform 2-5 repetitions of the final phase of the youth speed training, remembering to alternate their rotation as they turn at the middle Speed and Agility Cone. Rest periods are 40-60 seconds depending on the youth athletes level of fatigue.
Use Unresisted Sets When Teaching Youth How To Run Faster
When youth athletes have completed all repetitions of the speed training they should remove the Kbands and perform 1-2 unresisted repetitions of each phase of the youth training. Coaches or parents of youth should monitor the athletes conditioning and level of exhaustion. If athletes are becoming too fatigued during the youth training drill then the repetitions can be lowered. Becoming too fatigued during the speed training will result in athletes altering or using improper running technique. The main goal of this drill is not to condition the youth athletes but to teach them proper running form and how to use their bodies when changing directions. Youth athletes and coaches can also vary the resistance and repetitions used during the speed training. Athletes can use a higher number of repetitions when using a lower level of resistance or use a lower number of repetitions when using a higher level of resistance. This will allow the athletes to constantly vary the youth training, forcing the body to adjust to each new combination of repetitions and resistance.
Use Good Form When Teaching Youth How To Run Faster
One of the main goals of youth training is instilling proper mechanics and fundamentals in the youth athletes at a young age. As they progress in athletics this mastery of the fundamentals will allow the youth to progress much faster in their training than their counterparts who have not mastered the principles of how to run faster.
Since the speed training drill is only 10 yards long athletes chest should not raise up at any point during the youth training. As athletes sprint out they should keep their chests down and stay in the “dig phase” of their sprint. Athletes also need to have a powerful arm drive and work off the balls of their feet throughout the youth training drill. As youth transition from a forward sprint into a backpedal it is important they use short, choppy steps. These short steps will allow the youth athlete to slow their momentum and quickly redirect it in a different direction. When athletes are backpedaling it is important they keep their chest low, work off the balls of their feet, and pump their arms. When performing the turns at the middle Speed and Agility Cone athletes will also use short choppy steps as they rotate. Athletes need to stay low as they make this turn and not let their chests come up after they have completely rotated.
Instilling these great running mechanics in youth will help them learn how to run faster and gain better control over their bodies. Coaches and parents can perform this speed training with their youth 2-3 times a week. It is also important youth athletes are performing some kind of dynamic warmup before completing the youth speed training. Great warmups and other youth speed training drills can be found in the training section.