To make the most out of your JUST RUN session and to increase physical activity, have the children run in place while waiting for their turns.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT parts of the JUST RUN program are the recommended drills and relays for children. The drill packages have been developed to best prepare young legs and bodies for running. They are fun to do and improve agility, balance, coordination, strength, and conditioning and are the perfect complement to JUST RUNNING for school age children.
A video demonstration is found in the section "Informational and Training Videos" on the website.
It is best to organize lines of 4 or 5 children for relays. Instruct them to run easy or have them run fast to compete against each other. We suggest having them run slowly and non-competitively until they understand all of the variations. Try to evenly BALANCE the teams so they finish approximately at the same time.
Important note: The relays and drills are preferably done using soccer balls that are LOW ON AIR and FLAT on one side. They will not roll away and are not as subject to injury if stepped on.
We find that children love stuffed animals to go around and over, as well as soccer balls and/or objects of your choice. This adds VARIETY AND FUN. These relays are best done on grass rather than cement or hard surfaces.
Place several soccer balls - one for each group of children - 30 yards away from the starting line of the children. Each child runs to the ball, around it and then back to the group - TAGS the next person - who then does the same until all on the team have run. Variations should be done by having them first run around the ball from the left, then from the right side. Do this typically 4 times - twice from the left, twice from the right.
Variation: Each child starts from a KNEELING position, first on the right knee, then on the left knee. Repeat 4 times, twice on the left knee and twice on the right.
Variation: Leaders of the lines start by LYING ON THEIR BACKS, heads facing the balls. When hands are tapped, they turn over and then start running. For variety, have the children roll to the right or to the left, according to instructions.
Variation: Set a ball out about 30 yards from each line of children and a SECOND BALL or animal at 60 yards. Have the children do activities around or over each object before returning and tagging the next in line. This adds distance to the drills and relays.
The drills begin with a straight line of children; they individually run over and around a line of evenly separated soccer balls, or objects, and then return to the end of the line. Begin with six selected items and work up to 15 over a period of several weeks.
DRILL1: The balls should be less than three feet apart. Children run over the balls quickly, one at a time, in a running motion. When finished, they go back to the end of the line. Repeat.
DRILL 2: The balls should be about two feet apart. Children jump over the balls with legs together. Moving the arms helps with momentum. When finished they go back to the end of the line. Repeat.
DRILL3: The balls should be about three feet apart. Children swerve through and around the balls. When finished, they return to the end of the line. Repeat.
DRILL 4: High Knees - The balls should be about three feet apart. Children bound over the balls with alternating legs, lifting knees as high as possible. Repeat.
SUPPLEMENT drills 1 - 4 by doing push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, etc. between drills. Also, have the children run around the field, track or designated distance between drills, to add endurance.
On ALL of these drills and relays, it is important that there is not much rest time between running and activity. They need to be moving as much as possible. However, encourage cheering, team spirit and cooperation while waiting for their turns.