Athletics / Track and Field at Home for Junior Athletes
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- How to train for athletics from home in a variety of events, so junior athletes are ready to take their performance to a track when appropriate.
- No - except being healthy and keen
In this course we introduce skills for every athletics event - including all the running, jumping and throwing events.
Learn to sprint start, how to improve you top speed, get better fitness, hold a pole vault, do some hurdle exercises, throw a shot putt and lots more.
The content of the course will provide content for about 2-3 months of athletics activities with the athlete training twice a week and provide any youngster with a great start in this fantastic sport.
Each event has skills we can learn at home or in a small area (eg a local park).
The equipment needed will all be stuff from around the house (eg. a broomhandle).
- Junior athletes from the ages of 6 to 18
Warm up - What's the point?
A warm up is really important because it eases the body into exercises. You should never go straight into a max effort run, sprint, jump or throw - it's just not good practice and can be dangerous. You can injury yourself, or even others around you, by not warming up. This lesson will detail how to do it properly and help you get ready to design your own warm up.
The basic structure
A warm up needs to do a few things.
- Increase heart rate.
- 'Activate' and 'mobilise' the body. This just means getting the muscles ready to work.
- Practice technique
Why do we need to increase heart rate?
A bit of physiology 101.
The heart pumps blood around the body (although hopefully you knew that already). The more it pumps, the more blood goes around the body. This can be really useful because our muscles really, really need blood. Blood is important because it carries oxygen. Oxygen helps the muscles to create energy, otherwise known as respiration. We aren't going to go into the details, we'll leave that to the biology teachers. But that's basics.
Increase heart rate -> Increases blood supply to muscles -> Increases oxygen in muscles = muscles ready to run!
How do we increase the heart rate?
It's really easy. Just work the muscles, and the muscles will ask the heart to pump harder. This can just be a jog, running on the spot, skipping, star jumps... the list goes on However, it's really important not to ask for too much too quickly - this is how we get injured. If you do a 100m sprint with no warm up, the muscles aren't ready and can tear.
Activate and Mobilise
This simply means preparing the muscles for running and exerting lots of force. Activation and mobilisation is done by dynamic movements and not by static stretching.
Static stretching - a movement where the muscle is placed in the same position for an extended amount of time.
Dynamic movements - a movement involving movement of the whole joint and moving the muscles through its whole range.
Static stretches will decrease how much force we can produce and will not prepare the body. Don't get us wrong - static stretches can be useful. In the cool down, we use static stretches for 15-20 seconds to calm the muscles down before finishing. They are also amazing for increase flexibility, however this needs to be done at a separate time and not in the warm up.
An Active Warm Up
Now is the time to watch the next two videos on An Active Warm Up and Warm Up - Indoors to see how we warm up for athletics and how it is also possible to do inside. Hopefully you now understand why it is called an "active" warm up (it's because we are activating!).
You'll notice all the movements are dynamic, increasing the heart rate and always practicing good technique.
See the next lecture on Running Drills - what are they for? to understand why we use running drills and strides.
How to perform a warm up outdoors.
How to warm up indoors.
Have a look at this video and then try to practice the set up for yourself.
Concentrate on making sure you measure back properly and keep the body positions shown at each step of the way.
Learn which way round to have your feet - if in doubt we normally have our "ball kicking foot" at the back.