Starting drills selection
Leaping up and running from a variety of positions such as kneeling on the line, lying prone on the back with head first, feet first, or from a press-up position.
» Falling starts:
The arms are held sideways, hands are held next to the ears ready for a propulsive action. The trailing leg is held up with the thigh parallel to the ground because this is the first strike in a sprint start. The athlete falls as far forward as they can before driving the leg down – the arms work forward and back to commence a sprint for about 10 strides. Remember not to apply the brakes too quickly and overload the quads.
» Box drills:
The athlete jumps with two feet, forwards, sideways, backwards, and then runs.
» Single-leg box drills:
Similar to the previous, except the athlete is on one leg.
» Triple hops:
Done in the set position, the legs bouncing off the ground three times before running.
» Double bound, one-leg landing:
Using the arms to swing and help propel an upward bound with both legs and only landing on one, leading directly into a run.
» Tennis ball kick-backs:
Place a tennis ball on the ground behind the hand that is going to react backwards while in a crouch start position (it is not held in the hand). This gives the incentive to apply some force to the arm movement, and as we all know, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. There is also the motivation in a young squad situation to see who can project the ball the furthest!
» Seven-stride start target:
This is to encourage concentration on accelerating away from the starting line. Using bright yellow tennis balls cut in half, lay out markers starting at 50cm then increasing by 15cm with every stride – 50, 65, 80, 95, 110, 125, 140cm. The athlete then tries to start and hit the markers with each stride. A video camera can allow the coach to analyse this.
» The Curly Cat:
This can be very effective at replicating the drive out of the blocks without actually getting down into a crouch start. It can therefore be done fairly quickly and several times. Start from an upright stance, bend the knees and bring the head down to the leading knee, putting abnormal bend into the legs, before springing forwards and running to help practise keeping low.
All of the above are fun and yet effective in motivating the central nervous system to react quickly.