Tips: How to Train Arm & Leg Coordination in Track Sprinting

Arm and leg coordination comes naturally in running, starting the time you first bolted toward your parents as a child. Your arm instinctively swings forward in concert with your opposite leg. Still, you can fine tune your arm action to achieve maximal acceleration and proper form while sprinting. In fact, take big, strong movements of your entire upper body in coordination with your legs, advise the authors of “Coaching Youth Track and Field.”

 

Instructions

1 Determine your stronger leg so you can practice standing starts. This will be the one you plant to kick a soccer ball -- typically the left for many right-footed players. Place the foot of your stronger leg nearest the starting line and hold your opposite arm forward. Typically you’ll have the left toe near the line and your right hand up, either in a loose fist or gently closed.


2 Push strongly off your front foot at the starting command. Bring the rear leg, called the “quick leg,” forward, at the same time driving the arm on the same side as the quick leg aggressively backward.


3 Get into your rhythm during the acceleration phase -- the first 10 meters of your sprint. Drive your elbow back strongly as your opposite leg accelerates forward. Bring your elbow level with your shoulder. Your arm will return forward naturally given the stretch reflex at the front of the shoulder, notes “Coaching Youth Track and Field.” Meanwhile, the hand on your opposite arm can rise to the height of your chin. Avoid locking your elbows as you continue with a more upright posture into the maximum velocity part of your sprint.



4 Practice your technique with the famed A drill, which resembles an exaggerated walk with high knees and pumping arms. Bring your knees to hip level on each step. Swing your opposite arm, elbow bent 90 degrees, until your hand reaches shoulder level. Look to achieve a pendulum effect with your arms and to drive down your leading leg.
 

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