One of the things that comes up right away when I ask sport coaches what their athletes need to work on is running. Poor mechanics diminish speed, make players less efficient and leave them vulnerable to injury.
Like any skill; throwing a ball, swinging a racket or a club it needs to be learned and practiced to improve. But investing the time and energy to develop a smooth, powerful stride that allows for a coherent efficient flow is a game changer.
Steve Magness has a great introduction to running form, why it’s important and how to coach the changes. You can read it here. Its often neglected because coaches don’t know how to coach it or because with a large number of athletes we feel we just don’t have the time. Magness offers some simple thoughts on how and where to begin.
One of the things that’s needed is a whole body integrated approach to learning to run well. Another is an individualized or personalized approach to helping the athlete find cues and adjustments that help them developing a smooth efficient style that’s also their own.
There are few things more satisfying than helping and athlete find that sweet spot and feel the “take off” and ease that comes with it. We can do all the strength training and plyometrics we want but if the mechanics or technique aren’t right we’re wasting energy at best and stacking strength and power on top of dysfunction, courting injury at worst. How may cases of shin splints are influenced by poor mechanics?