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Movement Experiences for Children
KIN 366
Instructor: Dr. Shannon S. D. Bredin
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion


Sprinting is also known as running at your maximum speed to a target destination. Distances for sprinting can range from 55 to 400 meters and depending on the distance, it can challenge the different energy systems within the body. During sprinting, movements must be forceful, vigorous and explosive while moving efficiently and economically. Individuals can improve their sprinting through weight training in order to improve their legs and upper body. Many experts suggest that sprinters run most efficiently when thoroughly rested (Richwood, 2014).



  • is defined as to run at full speed over a short distance (Oxford University Press, 2015).


  • is defined as the art of running as fast as possible (Special Olympics Coaching Guide, 2007). It is used in many sports that incorporate running, typically as a way of quickly reaching a target or goal, or avoid or catching an opponent.

Human physiology states that a runner’s near-top speed cannot be maintained for more than 30-35 seconds due to the depletion of phosphocreatine stores in muscles.

Running (or jogging) differs from sprinting in a way that running is a relatively low-intensity, long duration activity (Livestrong, 2015).

Movement Experiences and Importance for Young Children

It is an effective way to improve agility and speed in young (11 and 12 year old) kids. This is how they naturally play, by running around in short bursts (Mark’s Daily Apple, 2014). Sprint training also improves leg strength in children and greatly transfers into future sports they participate in.

Through sprinting, children are able to experiment with different ways of moving and exploring personal and general space (CEA, 2015). This will in turn allow them to develop body awareness through varying body movements such as change of speed and direction. Children are able to explore and refine their sprinting technique simply through free running.

As children progress, they will move with control and coordination and also with confidence, imagination and safety (CEA, 2015). Through sprinting, children are able to show that they are able to travel showing change in direction and speed.

Cues to teaching points (PE Central, 2003)

  • Head is in a straight line with the upper body = head remains motionless
  • Shoulders are squared and parallel to target line
  • Hands are relaxed, not clenched
  • Arms move with a smooth forward backward action in a straight line
  • Legs drive the leg forward with high knee action


Specific training and exercises can be implemented to further increase a child’s adaptation towards sprinting benefits. Twist Conditioning has packaged three pillars of Youth training that can be transferred to sprinting for children (Ideafit, 2015).

  1. Sport movement: Agility, quickness and multidirectional speed.
  2. Sport strength: Whole-body and multi-joint strength.
  3. Sport balance: Stability, kinaesthetic awareness and proprioception.

Sports training and conditioning is very important for early maturers so they are able to take advantage of their physical maturation. Trainers must manipulate stimulus to stress specific systems in order to challenge and grow each distinct pillar.

Speed training

  • Exercises to improve stride length and frequency include high knee kicks, glute kickers, resisted running and high speed sprints (Craig BW, 2004).
  • Sandblasting (running in the sand) was also performed by many athletes. Benefits to this type of training regime include hamstring conditioning, exaggerated stride length and rate, and improved adaptation for ankle stability (NSCA journal, Vol. 13, Num. 4, 1991).


Start phase

Acceleration phase

  • This phase is achieved by driving or pushing with the drive leg (the leg that’s on the ground), requiring a forward lean. This phase does not particularly mean speed or fast; it simply means the rate of increasing speed (Special Olympics Guide, 2007).
  • As the drive leg is pushing, the free leg is swinging low and fast to place the foot under the body’s center of gravity. With each step, speed increases until maximum speed is fully reached. Vigorous arm action is important in maintaining balance, rhythm and coordination.

Maintenance phase

  • This phase is achieved by combining basic mechanics with the speed attained in the previous (acceleration) phase.
  • It is important to maintain high heel recovery as the drive foot leaves the ground (Special Olympics Guide, 2007). Maintain tall posture with a slight forward body lean from the ground. In order to maintain maximum velocity, it’s important to swing the arms forward and back vigorously without rotating at the shoulder joint.

Sprinting Games

Sprint 8 – A game that allows you to raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20-30 seconds, followed by a 90 second recovery period. With this pattern, the child can work their way up to 8 cycles (Peak Fitness, 2015). There are no specific rules to achieving this cycle. The child may do this running in the backyard, using a treadmill, an elliptical machine or even a stationary bike. Benefits to sprinting games, such as Sprint 8, include fat loss and muscle building. Additionally, it dramatically improves speed and athletic performance which can benefit aspiring young athletes.


Physical Benefits

  • Sprinting has a wide variety of physical benefits. This type of running has the ability to prevent diseases, provide safety and injury avoidance and decrease morbidity and premature mortality (Chittibabu, B. 2014). In physical education, students are integrated into programs that provide them with the knowledge to incorporate safe, satisfying physical activities into their lives.

Psychological Benefits

  • Many mental benefits can be attained through sprinting. Maximal running allows the child to defeat trial after trial, which allows them to grow even stronger with much confidence (About Health, 2015). Also, by doing speed runs are a very good way to tear through anger and provide a relief of stress in daily activities. By running at a maximum pace, it allows the child to release endorphin that in turn leads to euphoria (runner’s high). This phenomenon allows the runner to feel less tension, less depression, less fatigue and a general sense of happiness.

Accessibility Benefits

  • Unlike many other sports, sprinting for children requires little to no investment in terms of money. Perhaps a pair of decent running shoes for safety, but other than that no other equipment is required. As sprinting is compared to ice hockey, it is a much more accessible to children all ages and can be performed almost anywhere.

Common Injuries

  • A common injury that occurs in youth during sprinting is the occurrence of a sports hernia. This injury is caused by a tear in the muscles of the lower abdomen where they attach to the pelvis (Phoenix Children’s Hospital, 2015). The pain is worsened with coughing, sneezing, or quick motions such as sprinting.
  • Another common injury that occurs frequently is a hamstring muscle injury, also known as a “pulled hamstring” (AAOS, 2015). A hamstring injury can be a pull, partial tear or a complete tear. The cause of this injury can be when the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity or it’s challenged by a sudden load (AAOS, 2015).

Practical applications and the contemporary society

Modern Prosthetics for young athletes

As we advance in our contemporary society, we have also kept up our pace with the upmost advanced technological advancement. In a medical sense, there has been a breakthrough in producing new prosthetics for amputees that provide greater, more variety of functions.

Ossur (2015), a company developed in Canada, has developed a high-performance, carbon-fibre foot for young and athletic amputee children called the Cheetah Junior. This prosthetic is designed primarily for athletic movements in sporting events such as sprinting, jumping etc.

This replacement-foot is able to handle high-impact from daily activities such as fast walking, climbing stairs and heavy lifting. The Cheetah Junior can be used for track and field events and long distance running as well.

Sprinting Promotion

Encouraging sprinting as a physical activity has several benefits. Today, busy schedules and children cannot be separated, thus; leaving very little time for physical activity. Sprinting can be done in short bouts of 20 minutes to see health benefits and an increase in leg strength (Poliquin, 2015). With such short time required, sprinting can be slipped into and between activities in a busy schedule. There should not be an excuse to not be practising sprinting.


Athletics Coaching Guide, (2007). Special Olympics Part 1.

Comparison of Explosive Power and Sprinting Performance of Rural and Urban Boys and Girls. (2014). International Journal Of International Journal Of Research And Review In Health Sciences Recent

Advances In Multidisciplinary Research , July -2014 ,, 1(4), 3.

Developing Fundamental Movement Skills, (2015) (1st ed.),. (2015). Speed, Quickness & Agility Training. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2015). - Lose Weight and Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition & Fitness Tools. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2015). Exercise Benefits Children’s Brain Function. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from academically.aspx, (2015). Hamstring Muscle Injuries – OrthoInfo – AAOS. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2015). Cheetah Junior. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2015). Sprint: definition of sprint in Oxford dictionary (American English)(US). Retrived 20 February 2015. From

Phoenix Children’s Hospital, (2015). Hip Injuries in Young Athletes. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2015). Eight Reasons Everyone Should Do Sprints | Poliquin Article. Retrieved 20 February 2015, from, (2014). An overview of Sprinting. Retrieved 28 February 2015, from