Children are ready to be introduced to the skill of running in Kindergarten and mastering the skill by the end of Year 3. The ability to run is the key to many games, sports and everyday activities. It is essential that children are taught the correct technique for running and provided with plenty of opportunities to practice. This is a skill that will be used across a child's lifetime
Checklist of skill criteria:
- Lands on ball of foot
- Non-support leg bends at least 90 degrees during recovery phase
- High knee lift (thigh almost parallel to ground)
- Head and trunk stable, eyes focused forward
- Elbows bent at 90 degrees
- Arms drive vigorously forward and backward in opposition to legs
For beginners (at the emergent level of running skill development):
- Focus on skill criteria number 3, 4 and 6
- Emphasise the high knee lift with marching games or pretending to run upstairs.
- Practice arm action sitting on a wall then move to standing and running on the spot and then running at a target
- Have children run while looking up at a target in front of them
- Play lots of fun games that involve running - Hula Hoop Car Trip and Hotdog Tag
For children at the developing level of running skill development:
- Stand opposite the children and explain that you will run together on-the-spot to practice fast running.
- Begin by jogging slowly with them on-the-spot, and make sure they are facing you.
- Point out that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.
- Talk to them about lightly gripping a small bird in each hand. Their hands should be “closed” but not tight.
- Tell them to pump their hands from “hip to lip”
- Start to speed up your movements slightly, and bring your knees up high. Ask them to bring their knees up high as well.
- Finally, ask them to run very fast on-the-spot for five seconds (as if they are running a race).
- Watch their movements as they speed up, and give them reminders where needed
- Then try running over short distances (20metres and 50 metres) focusing on technique
- Try some fun running games - Netflix and Here, There and Everywhere
For children at the acquired or accomplished level of catching skill development:
- Work on narrow foot placement by having children run along an invisible line
- Introduce small hurdles and cones to help increase stride length
- Challenge children to run greater distances (75m and 100m) and change speed and direction
- Practice starting and stopping
- Try running games that employ some strategy - Connect 4 and Get the Beanbag activities
- Hip to lip – arms are bent and travel from a child’s hip to their lip
- Hands closed lightly – like holding a small bird
- Eyes up
- High knees
- Land on the ball of the foot
- Run along an imaginary line
- Landing flat footed or on heels
- Limited knee lift
- Looking down at the ground
- Arms going across the body
- Landing on a wide lateral path
- Excessive body lean