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Relays (Further Development)

Blind Exchanges

Warm-Up Bean bag shuttle relay, developing fitness, dynamic stretching
Skill Development Baton exchanges (blind exchange, incoming and outgoing runners, underhand, overhand, push)
Wrap-Up Game Relay practice
Printable PDF of this session

Warm-up

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Circle Warm-up (2-5 minutes)

Have the students form a circle around you, about two feet apart from one another. On your signal, students should start to run in a clockwise direction. After 30 seconds the students change direction, speed up, and do drills such as high knees, butt kicks, and side steps. You can add other activities like running place, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, or push-ups.

Circle Dynamic Stretch (1-3 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in dynamic stretches.

See the Supplementary Session on Stretching for appropriate activities. 

Baton Exchange

Below are exchange techniques that students can develop to improve their speed and effiency. Athletes should practice all exchanges in pairs and then in small groups.

A general guide for children is to start running when the incoming runner reaches a checkpoint that is five to six yards away.

Blind Exchange

There is no visual contact between runners in a blind exchange. The only time the outgoing runner should look back is to see when the incoming runner reaches the checkpoint. At this point, the outgoing runner should accelerate at full speed as if he or she were running a 100-meter dash. Runners must have confidence that their practice and timing will allow the baton to be exchanged smoothly. Athletes should practice without the baton first, starting their run 5 to 6 yards away from the exchange.

Incoming and Outgoing Runners

Remind students it is the responsibility of the incoming runner to place the baton in the outgoing runner's hand. The outgoing runner must trust their teammate and not feel blindly for the baton. A lack of trust may result in a dropped baton or poor handoff outside the exchange zone.

After accelerating, the outgoing runner should extend his or her left hand back. The exact hand position should be whatever is most natural and comfortable while running full speed—remind runners to keep their shoulders facing forward. This technique creates smoother baton exchanges by allowing a straight line for arms and shoulders to match up. It also allows the runners to use the inside of the lane, resulting in a slightly shorter distance.

After making the exchange, the incoming runner should continue to run through the zone and stay in their lane. Athletes should practice this in partners and in teams for 10 minutes.

Underhand

The outgoing runner holds the receiving hand in a bridge position. The hand is held still, slightly behind the hip. The incoming runner uses an up-sweeping motion to place the baton in the hand.

Overhand

The outgoing runner holds the receiving hand back with the palm facing up. The arm is straight and held higher than the hip. The incoming runner uses a down-sweeping motion to place the baton in the hand. This is for a visual exchange.

Push

The outgoing runner holds the receiving hand at shoulder height with the thumb down, the palm facing the incoming runner, and the fingers pointing to the inside of the track. The incoming runner holds the baton straight up and down and pushes the baton into the hand.

Wrap-up Game

Relay Practice

You will need cones, a baton, and a stopwatch. Using all of the techniques from this session and Session 8, practice relays in groups. Practice over a smaller area and move up to the full 4x100-meter distance.

Cool Down

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Static Stretching (3-5 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in static stretches.

Please see the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional stretches.

Youth and Schools