Form 101: Introduction
Form 101 is a five segment series explaining the fundamentals of good running form. This segment covers the importance of teaching good form and six guidelines for approaching form training.
Tags: high school, form
Improving your athletes' running technique will help them:
- Run with greater ease and efficiency
- Be less prone to injury
- Become more aware of their body mechanics
- Improve their endurance while getting stronger and faster
- Running is a technical sport and sound running technique is a learned skill, not an innate ability. It needs to be taught and practiced.
- The best way to teach form is by regularly practicing specialized exercises and drills; relying on instructions alone can lead to injury. Drills break good form into manageable elements. They also isolate and exaggerate movements of the running stride to build the strength, power, and efficient neuromuscular reactions needed for each component of running.
- Consider each athlete's strength, mental maturity, skill, and motivation when designing your training. Since athletes will be different, the training and coaching you give them should vary accordingly.
- Always account for the specific body build of each of your runners. A variety of structural differences can cause flaws in running form that drills may not completely correct. Additionally, puberty can cause rapid changes in body build during the early high school years, which can make some movements feel awkward at first. Avoid pushing your runners to do movements that are uncomfortable, and if you become aware of structural problems, consult a sports doctor.
- Remember that while there is no single perfect form for running, there are techniques that are safer and more efficient than others, which can lead to better performance.
As important as good form is, your primary goal as a coach is to keep running fun.
- In general, high school athletes are capable of focusing on the finer aspects of form and training for peak performance. At this age, it is important to teach both the body mechanics behind good form and the logic behind your teaching methods.
- We demonstrate widely accepted elements of good running form in our other Form 101 segments: Fundamental Athletic Skills, Running Posture, Leg Movements and Arm Movements. Additionally, the activity segments in A Running Start show ways to teach those form elements.