Middle School Training

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John Sine
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Middle School Training

Post by John Sine » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:03 pm

Hello Room,
I am John Sine and recently have began coaching a middle school track team. I am an active marathon runner and realize that it has been years since I have been at the level where these beginners are. I want to be a positive influence on them and was wondering if anybody had some coaching tips for proper instruction for middle school track runners. Thank you.

BoilerTom90
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Re: Middle School Training

Post by BoilerTom90 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:01 am

1- keep it fun.
2- recognize the level of commitment will vary greatly with each person. Some are there for social reasons, and some want to excel. Recognize the difference and coach accordingly.
3- Let kids try a lots of different events (see #1), especially those there more for social reasons.
4- As far as training, the same principles apply, but everything has to be scaled back. Most have no base, and with a short track season, there's very little time to build it.
5- encourage kids to run on their own on the off days (if you're school was like my son's, practice was not every day, and it was often cancelled).
6- Be encouraging!

CoachRonG
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Re: Middle School Training

Post by CoachRonG » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:53 am

My mantra is: "kids don't train, they play" so I echo the above. keep it fun. use relays when you can for running, they like that more. focus on skills (they can always get "fit" later in life). stay away from "lactic acid" type stuff, stay short and fast, or longer and easier. Let the "meets" serve as the specific training.

The Germans teach everyone to hurdle, long jump and throw the shot put........this makes them well rounded.

run jump and throw.......every sport has its base there......

runthe8
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Re: Middle School Training

Post by runthe8 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:01 am

For those beginners especially, break practice into little segments that add up to a decent amount of work. We don't have access to a track for all our practices, so I have to be creative. We train in a field once a week with an adjacent 800 meter loop with some hills on it, and the other day is at a crappy paved 304 meter 2 lane track but with lots of grass fields around it. Our warm up is actually aerobic training and takes about 12-15 minutes. We do some joint mobility exercises, then an easy jog (we start with about 2 minutes and then move to the 800 loop pretty quickly after the season starts). Then we come back to our field and get ready for the rest of the warm up. We do a dynamic exercise for 20 meters, starting with toe walks and heel walks, then mostly variations of skipping followed by Frankenstein walks, step-grab-pulls, things that use most of the running muscles, followed by a form "stride" for about 40 meters, then jog to the back of the line. This is how we do it: We warm up in a field and I mark off a large 20 meter square with cones. The kids line up in pairs or threes at the first cone (to keep the line short so they are not waiting around a lot).. They do their dynamic exercise to the second cone, stride around the next 2 cones, and jog back to the starting cone. They get a short little rest before they are up again for the next drill but it isn't much. The really newbie kids can walk after the stride to the back of the line instead of jog if they need to, or just jog the stride part.

Then we would move onto the next segment of the workout. At this time, I would send my veteran kids who actually train throughout the year out for a run. They might come back at the end and do a station or two that the beginners spend their entire workout on. The beginners would do some sort of circuit in 3 8-10 minute stations. One station that works well with kids is 100 meter repeats with a very short walking recovery (about 30 seconds walk. I put a cone out for them to walk around and they go back and forth over the 100 meters.) They figure out pretty quickly that sprinting the 100 meters is not a bright idea. Another station might be a body weight circuit. I usually line them up on a line, facing me, and have them do some sort of exercise for 30 seconds (squats, pushups on their knees, rocket jumps, jump rope without a rope, planks, whatever you can think of...I have a long list) then have them stride out to a cone about 20-30 meters away and walk back to the starting line. do another exercise, repeat till your 8-10 minutes is up. Sometimes instead of a stride to the cone, I might have them do a movement like crab walk, or bear crawl, or pick a partner and do wheelbarrow, or skip, or something like that. The third station might be a short hill, where they run up, and walk down, or if we are training at the grass field with the 800 meter loop, 10 minutes steady on the 800 loop. It just depends.

Another thing the kids really like once they are in better shape is Indian runs (sorry, don't know the PC term for that!). We put them in like ability groups of 5-8 kids or so. We usually run 800 meter loops for these with a short rest. When the kid from the back sprints to the front, the kid who is now in the back has to count to 10 before he/she can sprint to the front. The kids usually count out loud in unison which is kind of funny, but they have so much fun with this (not sure why...)

Another thing they like are shuttle relays. We do these at the end of practice sometimes. Teams of however many you want, racing back and forth over a distance (we usually do about 40 meters) and tapping hands as they go by. We just say "everyone has to race 5 times" or whatever you want. I try to make the teams equal.

Have fun! I don't worry that much about meticulously planning my beginner middle schoolers training, to be honest. I just keep the training kind of general for that group, working on running form, short speed, developing their aerobic abilities, etc. My kids who are serious runners and have been doing it for a while train more like high schoolers, much more planning and progression. My main goal for both groups of kids is to enjoy it enough to want to run when they get to high school.

Tinman
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Re: Middle School Training

Post by Tinman » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:01 pm

Be systematic, not haphazard, with training plan design and practice execution.

As I see it, how you progress training is just as important as the type and amount of training you administer.
Tinman
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Inquire via email:
runfastcoach@gmail.com

John Sine
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Re: Middle School Training

Post by John Sine » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:40 pm

Thank you all very much... This will greatly help me

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