Today’s post is brought to us by Superior Athletics interns Kayla Koelbel and Steven Suozzi. They both are from SUNY Cortland, in upstate New York and are 6 weeks into their current internship.
In our warm-up, we incorporate band work to strengthen the hip flexors and the legs. This helps with activating the muscles necessary for sprinting and other explosive movements such as jumping.
From the band work, we move on to wall drills, which help to create the proper form used for sprinting. The wall drill focuses on the basic mechanics used in running, including keeping the chest up, core tight, leaning from the ankles instead of the hips, keeping the ankles dorsiflexed, and the knee around a 90 degree angle.
You can add more of a challenge to the drill by calling out which leg to switch or calling to switch twice. By increasing the speed and variability of the switches, it will get the athlete prepared for sprinting at higher speeds and coping with the unpredictability of their respective sport.
The importance of the wall drill is to ensure that the athlete is driving in line from the toes, to the knees, to the hips to prevent injury while creating maximum force.
Marching is the next progression from the wall drill. As the athlete no longer has the wall to help create the force and angle required, marching is the next step towards sprinting. We first have the athletes march in place to ensure that their mechanics are proper before allowing them to take the next step and march forward.
Some reminders for marching:
Make sure that you maintain your lean and the force that is being exerted on the ground to move forward.
Keep your foot dorsiflexed, chest straight, and core tight.
Once you have control over your movements, then you can begin marching forward.
Skipping in Place and Skipping Forward
Skipping in place will follow marching. This will help athletes to add more force to the marching mechanics. We still avoid using the arms at this stage for beginning running mechanics to focus on the lower body mechanics. Later, we will add the arms in, using opposite arm with opposite leg to promote proper sequencing of the arms and legs. The purpose of this is to teach athletes to increase their turnover; with increased turnover, athletes will run faster.
By first mastering these techniques, athletes will build the strength necessary to increase their speed and prevent injury in their sport.
Bill Rom is a strength and conditioning coach on Long Island, New York. Bill has been training both athletes and general population clients since 2006. His clients have ranged from adolescents to 70 year old grandmothers, and from peewee athletes up to former and current D1 athletes.
At Prospect Sports, where Bill is the director, he works with a number of professional athletes from the NFL, MLB, MiLB and more.
Additionally, Bill has been published on EliteFTS.com, one of the top strength and conditioning websites in the world, as well as Stack.com; a website dedicated to improving athletes and is currently working on stories for LiveStrong.com.
He also has done a number of speaking engagements including the NSCA and is continuing to pick up more.
Bill is one of the top young strength and conditioning coaches in the country, and arguably the top strength coach on Long Island.
Superior Athletics is a high performance facility located in Farmingdale, NY, roughly 40 miles from Manhattan. We specialize in helping each athlete, whether a 12 year old soccer player, a 25 year old pro, or an everyday mom, achieve their ultimate success in life or in sports