Back on Track – Drills and the athlete’s tool kit

So I plough on with my quest to become at least half as good at athletics as I was 10 years ago.  That may not sound like too much of an aim, but compared to how good I was and how incredibly lazy I’ve been in my late teens and early twenties even reaching that half is going to be a bit of a mission.

Now I don’t know if anyone’s ever seen or done sprint drills, but basically its a whole set of strides, jumps and stretches devised to make the athlete look like a dickhead.  These vary slightly from long jump drills which aim to make the trainee look like a complete dickhead.  However, despite how silly you look like leaping about like Andy Pandy in the air or running very quickly on the spot like you’re stood on hot coals, these drills are the foundation of becoming a more efficient runner and jumper.  Because my friends, as I have learnt, running is not as easy as you think.  That thing I’ve been doing on those rare occasions over the last few years that I thought was good running was apparently not. It was bad running.  It was rubbish, inefficient, injury inducing, bad habit forming running.  It’s running that now, knowing I am capable of it, makes me afraid to go outside, afraid of moving even for fear of my hips/ankles/shins/knees/back/neck. But no more I say.  With drills and a lot of practice I am beginning to erase all the bad habits I’ve picked up and generally start running in a more energy saving and useful way.

Another thing with drills is that they look deceptively simple and straight forward.  When Coach Man gives us a demo everything seems to flow and look easy, it is, at the end of the day, just a variation of getting one foot in front of the other, however the story changes when let loose to have my own go.  Even now, when I think I’m doing ‘quick heel draws’ in a sharp, fluid motion, I’m often actually stomping the ground like an impatient horse, when doing high leg kicks over hurdles I often end up taking them with me with my trailing leg and doing ‘high knee to the count of three’ still blows my mind and my co-ordination.  I did drills when training at school, but quite often, due to the fact I was thriving in the self conscious teenage stereotype that I had cast myself as, it would be a half hearted effort in the vain hope that I didn’t look too stupid in front of other people.   Now however, I can already see the difference in doing these drills and taking them seriously which out weighs how ridiculous I may look when Incredibly Good Looking Guy jogs past….



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