There is something cool about being fast. Regardless of the sport your child plays, speed is an absolute skill that will enhance their performance. I only have a few years of watching my kids play sports because they are so young, but it so clear that speed is a skill. Running mechanics do not come natural. Even if your kid has an amazing coach (for the sport they play) – correct movement patterns for running, stopping, jumping and landing are not usually part of practices. Children need to learn the correct technique for these 4 key athletic movements.
Speed and agility usually go hand in hand. But today, I am going to focus on just linear speed. I want to help you make your child run correctly and faster. Clearly the age of your child makes a difference. I am going to give you tips and exercises that work for kids over the age of 8. One of the leaders in the sports performance community on the topic of speed is Bill Parisi. His system has been followed by over 600,000 kids in the United States.
Two videos from the Parisi program to develop speed
The Anchor Drill is focused on leg recovery. In the video below you will learn a lot more about the biomechanics of running. The exercise is simple to practice with your child. It is at 2:40 in the video. Martin Rooney and Bill Parisi demonstrate a basic leg recovery movement that will teach your child the correct leg ‘stroke.’ The entire range of movement when running is important. Although your child will hold onto something when doing this exercise it also develops strength in their core and improves balance because the movement isolates one leg at a time. This exercise can also help to prevent hamstring injuries.
Quick Step Drill is for developing top speed. It is a common drill in the athletic community, but often taught incorrectly. You will notice in this video that Parisi and Rooney emphasize how the movement of the arms (‘pump’) needs to be proportional to the legs. The arms should not over shoot the leg movement. The video shows the correct quick-step form at 4:20, but before seeing the exercise, you will learn why the quick step improves top speed.