Broughton Runners 1/5/2012

We started a new “sprint” group last night.  The plan is to run this for about 6 weeks, just to give some of the runners a taste of something a little different.  Out of the 28 kids that turned up, 8 decided to give it a go with me and sprinting.

The whole of the session was based around learning and developing the high-knee drill.  My interpretation of this drill is based around the BK Method developed by Frans Bosch.  I was lucky enough to attend a seminar and practical demonstration by Frans at England Rugby a few years ago, where he spent the whole practical session demonstrating the high-knee drill, using academy rugby players as example athletes.

The key coaching points for the drill are:  have the body straight and slightly forward; when moving the knee, think of it as a “snapping” motion, to encourage really fast movement.

We started with a static version, indoors, looking for correct tilt in the pelvis (with the pelvis tilting slightly up on the raised side).  This was developed to three rapid changes to a freeze.  After that, we went outside and did a gentle warm up, before beginning the main section.

In pairs the group did the drill on the move for 5-15 metres.  Some could do this well, others were told to slow the movement down, so that they could perfect the movement.  Next they did the drill for 10m, before extending their strides, whilst still maintaining the drill.  The usual effect of this instruction is for people to do the drill, then switch into their normal running style – often noted by a drop in the hips and shoulders.  After a couple of goes at this, most were managing not to do this.  This was then extended further up to about 30m.

Most striking was that two of the younger girls started off incapable of running in a straight line, and by the end were managing.  Others were developing a much more obvious knee and arm drive.

We finished with 2 40m sprints, one using the extending method, the other their normal style.  Frankly, this didn’t work so well as they didn’t understand what I was after.  I should probably have done the “normal” 40m sprint before doing anything else.  What was apparent, was that some of them had already taken on board the drill and modified their sprint style accordingly – if subconciously.

Next week we will revisit the high knee drill and then switch to doing some short hills for speed and power.

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2 Responses to Broughton Runners 1/5/2012

  1. Andy Armstrong says:

    Interested to know how you got on with this session Richard, has it been useful or did you have to change it a lot?
    We’re doing a speed and agility session at Clayton Juniors which includes some sprint work and we do some high knee drill work to support this. The results are mixed; largely down to the athletes ability to focus on technical tasks.

    • Lecky says:


      Thanks for your comment.

      I have done similar sessions many times, having seen it demonstrated at an England Rugby S&C seminar, and am very comfortable with the model I am using. We were lucky with having a fairly small group of self-selected and keen runners for our sprint group, age group from about 10-16.

      Apart from the final 40m sprint, the session worked well. You have to really focus on the effect of the high knee exercise in making sure the pelvic alignment is correct, i.e. slightly raised for the free leg. It helps to do this inside with the athletes leaning forwards slightly against a wall and taking time over it. You have to have a good relationship with your athletes as you are looking straight at their backsides (or at least just above!). Pairing people off to self coach is good.

      The whole sprint block worked very well, possibly as it was just a little different. The outcome was that all the “sprinters” broke their PBs when we next did our hilly time trial.

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