Debate has gone on for years about the usefulness of drills on improving an athlete’s ability to run more economically. I am a big believer drills used early in an athlete’s career not only help a runner become faster but additionally reduces injury. In the four years we have a high school athlete its amazing how much we can clean up their mechanics. As I am typing away on my computer the last three track and field season we have not had one major hamstring injury! I will now go over and knock on some wood. But seriously, we have accomplished this without great weather, indoor facility, and kids competing at a high level. I believe this statistic is a result of a decent off season program, good warm up scheme, and dedication to bio-mechanics through our multi package drill routines. The video I enclosed with this blog has two different drill packages we run at different points in the season. The first drill routine is used often in the early part of the season. The second drill routine is used at the end of the season near our main competition phase. Notice the different hand positions, the placement on a line instead of the lane and please take note that we drill on a curve along with the traditional straight. We use different hand positions to increase the difficulty of the drill. I believe our arms act as training wheels for the body. When the arms are taken away occasionally it can provide good overload to force the athlete to improve and always helps to limit boredom of the drill. John Smith, John Drummond, and Frans Bosch use the different hand positions as part of their drill programs. Kids often comment when the hands are removed from drills they can feel the additional work in their core. We put our athletes on a line during drills so we can do a better job of spotting imbalances in the athlete’s movements. I like putting kids on a curve simply because an athlete must have good mechanics on the curve as they do on the straight. Again these athletes are at different levels of mastery when it comes to running drills. Happy New Year!