Kids running cross country is one of the most basic forms of kids sport. Most kids are born with the ability to run. With some specific sports coaching, kids training for cross country can see dramatic improvements in their running strength and running endurance.
Cross country running for children develop strong mental skills and build an improved sense of discipline towards running, other sports and life in general.
Sports coaches should love kids running cross country because it is a sport where effort in training is rewarded. Cross country running like competitive swimming is about the amount of miles / kilometers junior runners get into their legs. Also the amount of high intensity interval training that cross country kids do helps develop strength and endurance.
A word of warning for the kids cross country coaches, if you want your young runners still running in later high school then caution needs to be executed when they are young developing cross country runners. The preteen runners should be under trained so when their bodies have matured in later high school the cross country coach can substantial increase the high intensity interval training programs.
Kids training for cross country should:
Successful cross country coaches will develop yearly / season plans. This allows the running training to be implemented in phases. Pre season, competition, and post season running training programs should be developed.
Advanced preteens and high school cross country runners should be exposed to a moderate amount of high intensity interval training including TABATA.A great resource that is new is Pat Tyson's publication Coaching Cross Country Successfully. Pat has developed a program that will establish a positive running culture within an individual or squad. The book helps to assist a coach in establishing his or her own coaching philosophy. An educated coach leads to delivery of effective training programs that sees runners being fully prepared for competition.
I also have in my library of cross country resources the below listed titles. Each author certainly has their own individual ideas making wide reading in this sport beneficial to coaches. My bookshelf contains 101 Developmental Concepts & Workouts for Cross Country Runners, Training for Young Distance Runners & Developing a Successful Cross Country Program.
The most under utilised tool for any cross country coach is ensuring the athlete has the correct positive mindset. Most kids running cross country put too many limits on themselves. Juniors set their goals saying, 'I'm not as fast as that competitor'. This thereby limiting their potential with a negative statement rather than expanding it through a positive affirmation.
Junior running coaches must ensure runners place an importanct emphasis on positive affirmations. A large part of being a successful cross country runner is just imagining what you want to do and continually plugging in positive reminders. There's a great deal runners can do in their subconscious to get the body to respond.
Strategies for constructing affirmations and goals for the junior cross country runner
Participating in quality cross country racing in the weeks leading up to the major races of the season are the times to perfect the mental strategies needed to succeed.
During the main races of the season if everything has gone according to plan junior cross country runners will be completely mentally under control throughout the race. That doesn't mean they won't be hurting, but the ability to push beyond and cope with the pain becomes increasingly important during the final stages of the race.
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