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The importance of sprinting drills
Drills is another way of stretching, but rather than your normal stretching, drills help you mould your body into the correct form for sprinting. It is important that the coach observes your form during the drills phase and advises for any incorrections. It also helps reduce injury especially when doing fast, short explosive sprints. Drills should always be included as part of your warm up routine, in the following order.
1. Warm up - 0.5 - 1km slow jog
2. Stretching - this is mainly for your legs and hips but don't forget about your arms since they counterbalance everything.
3. Drills 10-15mins
4. Main sprinting session
5. Warm down by jogging.
Drills also help to iron out bad habits when training to sprints, e.g. knee lifts too low, arms driving at an angle instead of in front, Powerful athletes Zigzagging (losing ground at the start).
Have a look below for some preferred drill sessions by top class sprinters.
The Sprinting Drills
- Walking high knee lifts - Knees should come up parallel to the ground and walking should be a ball-toe movement
- Running high knee lifts - Similar to above to with running, emphasizing on the arm movement.
- Bum flicks or heel kicks - has to be done running and should emphasize on rapid turnover with slow advancement.
- Lounges - similar to walking high knee lifts but with a stretch lounge position.
- Rapid knee lifts - running high knee lifts at twice the turnover speed with a slightly lower height of knees. Good for white - fast twitch fibers.
- Jumping high knee lifts - Every step is performed with a jump, lots of emphasis of the calves and thighs.
Your sprinting should contain the elements of all these drills but look as natural as possible. concentrating on drills during sprinting may cause a lose of speed, which is why you need to concentrate on this phase doing drills only. Good drils should naturally lead to a correct sprinting form.
Winter or off-season training
This is the time when a lot of younger inexperience athletes tend to disappear magically re-appear again in the summer hoping for an improvement. That won't happen.
The winter training is definitely the toughest part, and once you get through it you will see an improvement for the following summer season. Those who skip it will go backwards once the natural youth talent wears off.
Stamina is important even for sprinting, you will need to get in 20-30 mins runs at least 2-3 times a week. At least once at week you should do some endurance runs e.g. 4x300m or 5x200m at around 60-75% pace.
Heavy weights are to be incorporated into the winter season so try to do them at least twice a week. Only the the main compound groups are required e.g. squats, bench press and cleans / snatches. Weights are important for you to actually avoid injury once you move into the warmer season which the faster sprint training.
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