Home and school activities to develop your movement skills for running

woodbank kids track start

Over the last year there have been concerns over the quality of physical activity individuals are accessing during periods of lockdown.  Although more people seem to have discovered walking, running and cycling and there have been many online resources  published questions have been raised concerning the quality of activity and keeping  children progressing with movement skills.  Of course many of these are relevant to the running community.

Professor Kathleen Armour, head of school in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham and Liz Nicholl OBE, Chief Executive of UK Sport have previously voiced their concerns around the quality of PE in the 21st century. The primary school years are often referred to as "the skill hungry years" as we learn skills more quickly between the ages of 8 to 12 years. There is a window of opportunity to develop balance and co-ordination at this time and both of these are needed if you are to run effectively and injury-free.

Running is essentially a one-legged sport. You need dynamic balance and coordination if you are to run smoothly and without these skills your running form and style are compromised and so injury risk is greater.

Those runners whose primary PE teachers or coaches helped them to develop ABCs (Agility, Balance and Coordination) at school as well as physical literacy will have built the foundations for a healthy and happy running career. ABCs in PE refer to Agility, Balance and Coordination as opposed to the letters ABC and this in turn develops "physical literacy". Liz Nicholl referred to "physical literacy" when asked if playtime could do the job of developing these basic movement skills. She pointed out that we wouldn't accept teachers giving comics to children to read in a literacy lesson without any teaching and so we should realise that PE needs to be taught by specialists who understand children's physical development.

Let us know whether your experiences of PE helped you develop robust running by visiting our facebook page.

An interesting point that is often noted when getting treated for an injury and expensive therapy treatment with rehabilitation exercises is that they are usually simple movement skills involving the ABCs, like balancing on one leg!

For those interested in developing ABCs and physical literacy, many resources and courses are available. Below are some of the home country links.

Physical Preparation from Welsh Athletics Comprehensive examples in pdf

Movement Skills Part 1 course from England Athletics 

Athletic development and physical preparation from Scottish Athletics

Fundamentals from Athletics NI

Athletics 365comprehensive matrix addressing fundamental progressions and all events