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Sprints (100 meters)

Sprint Form and Phases

Warm-Up Light jog, dynamic activity, form activities
Skill Development Form for sprinters (head and shoulders, arms and hands, posture, feet, legs), Phases of sprinting (drive, maximum velocity)
Wrap-Up Game Formula one race
Cool Down Light jog, static stretching
Printable PDF of this session


Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Dynamic Activity (3-5 minutes)

You will need cones and a stopwatch. Set up distances of 15, 30, and 50 meters using cones. Students will run at about 70% of their maximum velocity. Have students accelerate for 30 seconds before taking a break. Increase to 40 and 60 seconds, allowing students to see how much further they can run. Have the students keep track of how far they run in the time span. For added difficulty, have students run for longer periods of time (depending on athletic ability).

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

See the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional dynamic stretches drills

Form Activities (3-5 minutes)

High Knees

Students can do high knees in place 15 to 20 seconds. Tell them to maintain an upright body position while bringing the knee level with the hip and pulling the toe up towards the shin. Alternate legs quickly, while taking very small steps forward. Move arms in a coordinated fashion with legs as if running.

Butt Kicks

Students can do butt kicks in place for 15 to 20 seconds. Tell them to keep the back straight while moving forward slowly with quick, light leg movements that bring the heels toward the buttocks. Emphasize speed in completing the motion, not moving forward.

High Skips

Runners can practice power skipping at 10-, 20-, 40-meter intervals. Drive arms and legs upward in an exaggerated skipping motion. Bring the leg toward the chest while the opposite arm reaches up. Emphasize getting as far off the ground as possible.

Form for Sprinters

Head and Shoulders

During a sprint, students should drop their jaw and relax their face muscles, shoulders, and hands. To help kids recognize unnecessary tension, have them pretend to be a noisy boat by blowing air out of their mouth while vibrating their cheeks and lips. Then have them do this while jogging in place. Students should recognize that making the sound relaxes and reduces tension in their body.

Arms and Hands

While sprinting, students should cup and relax their hands. Palms face inward toward the body and wrists are relaxed. Arms are coordinated with legs so the left arm pumps downward as the right knee comes up and vice versa. Arms should move at the shoulder forward and backward without crossing the body.


Students should run with their core and torso erect. Keep their spines straight and the shoulders back with a slight forward lean. Keep the head up so the chin is parallel to the ground and keep the torso stable.


While sprinting, students should hit the ground on the ball of the foot and push off again with the ball of their foot. The heels should not hit the ground.


Sprinters need to lift their knees high, driving each knee forward and up until the thigh is almost parallel to the ground.


"Strides" are controlled sprints between 40 and 80 meters in length. The emphasis is on executing proper technique.

To practice proper sprinting form, divide students into pairs. Each student should do 10 strides, resting for one to two minutes between each repetition. Tell students to focus on maintaining a smooth rhythm and a balance between stride length and frequency.

Phases of Sprinting


This phase calls for the runner to accelerate from the start to reach maximum velocity. Gather the runners and remind them to look ahead while in the start position. Practice this over a 10-yard distance with cones. Students can count how many times their feet make contact with the ground. The goal is to increase foot contact and decrease time.

Maximum Velocity

This is the phase when the runner is at top speed. Students need to practice maintaining correct form while running fast.

Foot Fire

Tell your runners to imagine they are standing on a hot stove. To avoid burning themselves, they have to lift and lower their feet very quickly. Control the stove's temperature (and your runners' turnover rates) by calling out "hotter" or "colder." When you call out "Foot Fire!" your runners should move as fast as possible, staying at top speed until you cool the temperature (5 to 10 seconds later) and eventually "put out the fire." Play up to three rounds (1-2 minutes in length) of Foot Fire with 1-2 minutes rest between each round.

Wrap-up Game

Formula One Race

This game lets students experiment with speed. You will need cones. To play, set up cones at different distances on a track or on the field (no curves). Have runners run at different speeds from cone to cone. Change the set up every two to three minutes. To make the game competitive, divide the runners into teams, increase the distances, and/or increase running speeds.

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.

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New York Road Runners Mission