The following exercises have been extracted from the England Athletics 365 Coaches resource and are exercises that parents can do with their children at home in preparation for returning to athletics training as soon as we are able to resume club sessions.    They are progressive and athletes should be able to perform the movement correctly before progressing onto the next level.   The progressions shared below fall into 2 sections:

  • Developing Stages (Red to Green)
  • Practising Stages (Purple to Black)

The Sections are split into:

  • Static Balance and Strong, Stable Core
  • Dynamic Balance & Coordination
  • Agility

Most of the activities can be done with limited equipment or adapted equipment that can be found in the house or garden, for example, cones can be replaced with shoes or coloured socks.

Section 1 – Static Balance & Strong, Stable Core

Static Balance is the ability to keep your centre of gravity over your base of support when the body is still, for example balancing on one leg – where the foot/leg is the base of support and your centre of gravity is roughly around your belly button.  If you lean too far forwards or backwards you lose balance because your centre of gravity is no longer over your base of support.

Static balance helps the athlete to develop body control and stability.  Every time we move, walking, running, jumping or throwing we need to have complete body control to carry out the movement effectively.   Any loss of control will result if loss of speed and power and use more energy and as training progresses can have a higher risk of injury.

The first three Developing stages (Red to Green) will help the athlete develop body awareness, good posture and control.  The basic principles of a mini front/rear plank, seated balance, and squat patterns and many core exercises are introduced.

The Practicing Stages (Purple to Black) progress the athlete onto more challenging balance exercises, such as full plank, single leg squats and holding balance and control on a line or beam.   As with the earlier stages the athlete must maintain good posture, body awareness and control and should not progress onto the next stage until they have mastered the previous one.

The link below will take you to 4 challenges to develop static balance and a strong, stable core:

Static Balance and Strong Stable Core

Section 2 – Physical Preparation – Dynamic Balance and Coordination

Dynamic Balance is being able t maintain control when undertaking a movement.  This can sometimes be seen as a progression from Static Baance.  Coordination is the ability to move the body in an effective order in a range of directions, for example our ability to throw or kick with one side of the body effectively (good coordination) but not with the other side (lack of coordination)

Similar to static balance athletes need to have complete body control when undertaking a movement.  Developing coordination also helps to move the body in the correct order and in the right directions.  Coordination and balance will help athletes increase the speed, power and efficiency of each movement and will have a huge impact on performance.

The first three Developing stages (Red to Green) will help the athlete develop body awareness, good posture and develop basic movement patterns.  The basic principles of lunge, hinge and controlled take-off and landing (bracing) will be introduced

The Practicing Stages (Purple to Black) progress the athlete onto more challenging balance and coordination exercises, such as a single leg hamstring lean, advanced lunge, jumping movement and hopscotch.   As with the earlier stages the athlete must maintain good posture, body awareness and control and should not progress onto the next stage until they have mastered the previous one.

The link below will take you to a series of exercises designed to help an athlete enhance their balance, stability and coordination

Dynamic Balance and Coordination

Agility

Agility is a combination of balance, coordination and speed.  An athlete with agility should be able to start, stop and change the direction of the body efficiently and effectively.  It is also impacted by the reactions and response of the athlete to a given stimulus, such as a starter’s gun or whistle.

Agility is essential to all athletics events, from run up and take-off in the long jump to the speed across the circle in a discus throw or the ability to clear a hurdle.  Developing an athlete’s ability to do any movement with greater speed, coordination and balance is essential and will have a huge impact on performance

The first three Developing stages (Red to Green) will help the athlete develop the ability to run in multi directions, react to a basic stimulus (such as a ball drop) and use simple pivoting movements to turn the body.

The Practicing Stages (Purple to Black) progress the athlete onto more challenging agility exercises, such as ladder and box drills and advanced reaction and pivoting exercises.  As with the earlier stages the athlete must maintain good body awareness, coordination speed and control

The link below will take you to a series of exercises designed to help an athlete enhance their reactions, movement skills and all-round agility.

Agility change of speed direction level or body shape