Running up and down the court, pitch or field is hard on knees. Especially, those that aren’t strengthened by supporting exercises.
You’d get that strength and support by normal activities like running around and playing. Unfortunately, too many kids don’t run enough during the day.
So as a coach, parent or teacher, if you want to help prevent injuries as well as just improve the conditioning and strength of your athletes then have them build up their leg strength.
One way to do that is to teach them to jump and land correctly.
When they’ve learned how to land correctly, give a variety of jumping activities to simulate game conditions. Here are some ideas to try:
1. Landing on both feet
2. Landing on either foot
3. Jumping over different heights
4. Jumping for distance as well as height
5. Jumping over moving obstacles such as teammates, ropes or balls
6. Running and jumping
7. Jump after moving in different patterns; skip, hop, gallop, leap
8. Jump or hop and stick the landing
9. Jump or hop and then run forward
10. Jump or hop and then go into a different direction
Some of these variations are easy; some are more difficult. Chose the easiest ones first and then move to ones that are more challenging.
And remember…keep it fun.