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Endurance running for U13s | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: All other coaching children topics

Endurance running for U13s

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  • kevin

    Any thoughts on how to make endurance running more fun for U13s? We occasionally have sessions around the track (or half a football pitch) where they have to combine steady jogging with fast sprints (e.g. run hard for 30 seconds, jog for 90 seconds, then repeat with 15-second decreases in recovery jog, for a total of about 10 minutes). Nothing too strenuous,  and well within everyone's capabilities. After a couple of laps, some will continue working hard, but you can bet any money you like others will be shuffling along with no discernible difference between sprinting and jogging pace, some will be walking, talking and cutting corners, and at least three or four will complain of sore knees / feet / ankles / elbows, etc, or ask to go the toilet. Aside from getting them to make the connection between effort in training and performance in 800m and cross-country competition, are there good ways of increasing engagement and motivation? Can anyone recommend “enjoyable” sessions to build speed endurance that won’t have the kids wimping out?

  • AndyP

    Making challenges based on pace judgement and covering  a consistent distance each rep are options, and you could also try adding some mini obstacles but I do wonder how many football or rugby coaches would be asking how to make their sports more fun to play?

    It may sound harsh, but would the kids be better off just doing another sport if they are really that disinterested in running? Whilst I agree retention in the sport is a laudable goal, most clubs are overstretched when it comes to youngsters and fail to offer the recommended 12:1 athlete/coach ratio. Would it not be better for them to be doing something they enjoy and will carry on with into later life, meanwhile freeing up coaching resource for those that do want to be there.

    Every club I've ever spoken to has complained at some point about being used as a cheap baby sitting service. At my old club it worked out at 47p per hour including track fee, so I'm sure there must have been some truth in that on occasion.

  • pippaglen

    Hi Kevin, I love coaching endurance to this age as you can make it soon much fun that they don't actually realise they are performing endurance running.

    A nice game I would like to share with you is one I have played and adapted for children as young as 4 years, children and teacher have asked for it again.

    Depending on how many young athletes you have (lets say you have 20 athletes) place them in groups of 5 and give them a colour this would be the colour of bean bags and team colour.

    you will require about 30 cones and about 25 different colored bean bags, so you will have 5 Red, Green, Blue, Yellow,Orange or what ever colour you available, place the cones around a  large area, randomly place the coloured bean bags under the cones leaving some cones without a bean bag underneath

    make a starting point for athletes, On coaches instructions  (GO) one athlete from each team runs to 1 cone of there choice lifts up the cone if its there colour they must run back with the bean bag making sure they have turned the cone back, if not the colour they must place the cone back over the bean bag and run back to team members with a high five for the next athlete to run and so on, the first team with own coloured bean bags are the winners.  With this game you could make it a sprint game make start the athletes are closer to the cones and make the coned area smaller.  I have used this game with sweets hidden under  laughing

    This is a great game as is gets the athletes thinking about where the next bean bag is athletes will also keep an eye on the other teams to see what colours they are picking up and will remember the cone they went to a little like the game of pair with cards. You might find a little cheating going off. (looking through the hole of the cone to find the colour and going to a different cone if this happens team can be disqualified or give them a penalty point.)

    You can also turn it into a speed walking game for younger athletes or even older athletes.

    I feel it's a great team game, endurance, speed, no cutting corners if you put a points system in for every time they win you can take points away for cheating and letting the team down, they get to rest until its there turn again. You can make as short or as long as you want to.

    You will need time to set this up but it is worth the fun, If you like this idea I have other ideas I can share.

  • kevin

    Thanks, Emma. I like that idea. It could definitely be adapted for the older kids, and they'd enjoy the competitive element.

  • kevin
    On 16/05/17 1:30 PM, Andy Poppleton said:

    ... but I do wonder how many football or rugby coaches would be asking how to make their sports more fun to play?

    It's not so much the sport (put them in a cross-country and watch them go!), it's the actual training. And that's understandable: compare the thrill and excitement of doing a big city marathon with the hassle of doing tempo runs on cold, wet January mornings. I suspect football coaches do have similar problems: how do you make passing drills interesting for the kids who just want to have a massive kickabout?

  • pippaglen

    Hi Kevin

    As a athletics coach I have started to implement some of my coaching Ideas into my football coaching, some of the games I play I have been able to adapt to football to make the session fun as well as learning the skills and drills the young players love the games. 

  • BarbAugustin

    1. Any of the various versions of chasey (tag).

    2. Using a deck of cards, you assign an activity to each card or each suit and they do whatever that card dictates. I've done this using the Ace as 1 through to the King as 13 - then you multiply that by either 10 (for sprints) or 100 (for endurance). If it's a red card they have to run the distance, if it's black, they can walk. Joker is "coach's choice". I have also used it where each number relates to an exercise (eg. 2 is dips, 5 is pushups, etc) if it's red they have to run to/from that station, if it's black they can walk,. It's really only limited by your imagination. NOTE: if doing it outdoors - avoid wet or windy weather!

    3. Similarly to the deck of cards, I have a handful of coins. I make the kids stand with their backs to me, I throw the coins up in the air and they have to race each other to the coins and grab one. I keep changing what each coin means or they pick and choose!

    4. Relays, where I choose the teams so they're as close as possible. If that's not possible, I give the stronger team a handicap.

    5. Make use of any obstacles, landmarks. On the track, have them jog to level with waterjump, sprint to the 100m line, walk to level with a grate next to the track etc. It's even better in a park - get them to sprint to a tree, walk back, sprint to the next tree, etc. If the park has exercise equipment or a kids' playground - run to the equipment and do 10 of each type of thing and run back.

    Of all these, the card game is their favourite.

    One final note: for pre-pubescent athletes, don't tell them a time (e.g. you have to do 100m in x seconds), just tell them fast or medium etc. They're very good at managing their effort.

    Good luck!

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