High School (9-12)

Finding the right balance between the serious and fun factor will keep high schoolers interested in running. Learn more here.

Coaching Guidelines

When possible include runners of all abilities to encourage kids to be active for life, whether competitively or for recreation. For those interested in being competitive, high school is the time to focus on one or two sports and begin higher volume, higher intensity training.

Take the time to explain the reasoning behind your training methods. Students will grow as athletes and be invested in their training if they understand how body mechanics, running strategies, and the drills and exercises they do affect performance.

The video segments include the primary benefits and key elements of execution for each activity so you and your athletes understand its purpose and how to do it properly. Keep in mind that runners less interested in competition may not need to focus on the finer details in order to benefit from the activity and feel good about their improvements.

Running Sessions

Competition and competition-specific training, where athletes pull all their skill-based training together in workouts that stimulate the physiological demands of competition, can be the focus of up to approximately 60% of the time. Make sure to address both the mental and physical components of competition. Spend the rest of the time on skill development and maintenance, including basic skills such as strength, coordination, and pacing, as well as finer aspects of running technique such as elements of knee lift and foot strike.

Keep It Fun

Finding the right balance between the serious and fun factor will keep high schoolers interested in running. Runners of all abilities can enjoy mastering physical and mental skills.

  • Help them see the connection between their effort and personal achievement by tracking their times and distances as well as form and pacing skills.
  • Incorporate games and encourage team camaraderie and spirit during practices and competition.
  • Pay attention to each athlete's mental state and give them breaks when necessary to prevent burnout.

Kids Develop Differently

Be aware you may have athletes in various stages of maturity. It's important to understand the challenges of high school kids going through puberty. Late developers can be substantially smaller and weaker than those who have already matured, which research shows often leads to high dropout rates. On the other hand, late developers tend to be the better athletes when they get older if they stay in sports. Recognize how these differences can discourage both early and late bloomers. Make sure to always do the following:

  • Acknowledge these developmental challenges.
  • Help students feel comfortable and confident.
  • Give students encouragement.
  • Provide many opportunities for runners to see their progress as compared to themselves and others who have developed similarly.

Stretches & Strength Videos

See all Stretches & Strength Videos (25)

Form 101: Introduction

Form 101 is a five segment series explaining the fundamentals of good running form. This segment covers the importance of teaching good form and six guidelines for approaching form training.

Tags: high school, form

Time Trials

A pacing exercise that establishes a baseline for each runner's fitness level and pacing skill, and provides an opportunity to practice pacing and monitor progress

Tags: high school, pacing

Running Rewards

A pacing exercise and fun team competition that trains runners to identify the effort it takes to run at their goal race pace and teaches them how to monitor their speed

Tags: high school, pacing