Does Your Drill Past the Test?

How to Determine If Your Drills Pass the Litmus Test

I attended the regional track and field championship for girls in Indiana last year. One of my favorite things to do is watch the athletes warm up and prepare for their event, especially the sprinters, hurdlers, and jumpers. By watching, I can tell a lot about what the coaches teach and value when it comes to skill training for sprinting. When I attend other sporting events I observe their routines as well.

I noticed 90% of the athletes perform some version of skipping (A’s, B’s, and combinations) with very sloppy, non-consistent technique. The other 10% were very organized and tight in their techniques and emphasis.

Form drills have a very specific meaning when it comes to training athletes. If the meaning is not clearly outlined, then your athletes will create their own meaning, and it usually isn’t even close to the original intent of the drill.

Do your drills pass the litmus test of successful transfer to the skill of running, shuffling, change of direction, and so on?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when having your athletes perform a drill this can be for any sport, not just track and field…

  1. Does the drill address form and postures consistent with the actual skill?
  2. Do the limbs re-create the specific patterns needed to drive the skill?
  3. Are momentum concerns addressed? This drastically manipulates body position.
  4. Is force production an emphasis?
  5. Are the angles of force production and/or reduction addressed during the drill?
  6. Does the drill allow for foot repositioning to create elastic (SSC) response?

The next time your athletes are asked to perform specific drills to improve a skill be sure to ask yourself, “Am I properly addressing the drill so it transfers and supports the skill we are training or preparing for?”

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