When I watch youth sport teams such as football, basketball, and baseball workout, most teams do a lot of running.
They run a warm-up lap, then they typically do sprints at the end of practice.
The kids are encouraged to go fast and compete. But I don’t see a lot of teaching going on. I’ve written a lot about teaching running technique but most of those posts have been about teaching individual running technique.
But for youth sports there’s a lot more to being able to run than just running by yourself. You have to be able to run in relation to the ball, your teammates and most importantly, an opponent.
It’s a fundamental skill that isn’t typically taught in PE or coaches.
Here are seven partner running drills to help kids learn how to run with an against an opponent. They are fun and will also help your team and kids get used to some physical contact.
Youth Sport Partner Running Drill #1: Holding on to a shoulder.
With your partner, you run twenty yards at a moderate pace. The goal is to run together. Partner holds on to your shoulder. Be sure to vary the shoulders and you can do this running drill with both hands on the shoulders as well.
Partners run next to each other at slow to moderate pace. On a whistle, they bump shoulders and then separate. Can also be done with a count; “One, two, three, bump. One, two three, bump.”
One partner runs forward, the other stays in front and runs backwards. Player running forwards runs straight and at 45 degree angles for a few steps.
Partners face each other about five feet apart. Partner A shuffles two to five steps to the side. Partner B faces A and stays with him. After two or three shuffles, A runs twenty yards to a finish line. Partner B turns and tries to beat him to the line.
Two partners run for 40 yards. At first five yards, partner A drops to the ground and does three push-ups. Partner B will touch the shoulders of partner A for each repetition. Player A gets up and runs to the next five yard marker, where Partner B does the push-ups.
Two players of approximately equal size/strength face each other. Players place hands on each other’s shoulders and push with moderate intensity. Coach can increase the intensity by increments with a whistle. At a command, both players race to a finish line.
Youth Sport Partner Running Drill #7: Band Runs
One partner in front, one behind. Partner in front (A) has a band, rope or long towel, wrapped around his chest. Partner behind holds on to the band as A tries to run forward.
Many of these drills are tackle football related but they really should be practiced by all teams. Kids used to get a lot of rough housing just playing around. But not so much anymore. One of the biggest problems schools have is with kids not knowing how to be physical or deal with physical contact.
Spending a few minutes during a practice performing these partner running drills will help toughen up your team, teach them how to move against an opponent and work on agility. They are also a blast!
Coach Ron Usher
Every Child An Athlete
Be An Athlete for Life