Athletics Technique - Special Olympics Michigan
Athletics Technique - Special Olympics Michigan
Training Technique guide
This guide has been developed in conjunction with the
athletics rule packet to further assist coaches with the
training and development of their athletes. Because
the sport of athletics is such an expansive sport, we
want to provide the best training for our coaches and
athletes while not bombarding them with information.
This is a resource for all coaches and does not have
to be followed verbatim.
Good luck coaching!
2 Special Olympics Michigan
Push-off angle from ground is ~50-55o. Trunk is almost erect with ~5o forward lean.
(Midflight) Push-off leg folds tightly towards buttocks in a relaxed heeling motion. Front
leg thrusts forward and upward at maximum speed (~44mph in elite sprinters). When
front thigh reaches maximum possible knee lift, lower leg swings forward in a relaxed
Foot meets ground with ankle slightly extended (plantar flexion) directly under center of
gravity. Bodyweight is balanced so that only the ball of the foot touches the ground.
Shoulders remain steady, elbows flexed at ~90o, kept close to body throughout all
phases. Hands swing forward and up above shoulder height, down and past hips. Arms
and hands should have an aggressive hammering action. Head aligns naturally with
trunk and shoulders and facial/neck muscles are relaxed by keeping the mouth slightly
3 / Special Olympics Program Name
Sprinting Technique Drills
Raise Knees: 10 meters - jog - 10 meters - rest
Sprint 10 meters concentrating on raising knees as higher than normal. Jog for 10 meters and then sprint for 10
meters and rest.
Fast Knee Pick Ups: 10 meters - jog - 10 meters - rest
Jogging on the spot raise your knees to waist height while emphasising arm action. Move forward 10 meters with
this action concentrating on the number of ground contacts rather than how fast you cover the distance. Try to
get as many ground contacts as possible.
Flicks: 10 meters - jog - 10 meters - rest
While sprinting over 10 meters concentrate on flicking your heels up to touch your butt.
Leg Speed: 60 meters
This is a normal sprint over 60 meters except all of your focus should be on your legs. Try to gauge the optimum
leg speed for you by taking different stride lengths to see which yields the best results.
Skipping: 40 meters
High Hops: 3 x 40 meters
Bound from one foot to the other. The action is similar to skipping except your are trying to gain as much height
as possible and stay in the air for as long as possible. Remember to recover fully between attempts.
Elbow Drive: 40 meters
Sprint for 40 meters concentrating on driving your elbow in a straight line. Keep your elbows flexed at right angles
while keeping your arms relaxed.
Standing Long Jump Technique
• Feet shoulder width apart, toes lined up
• Swing your arms a bit and get your body ready
• Lean forward slightly, and bend your knees to a
bit above parallel
• Explode up and out with your legs and swing your
• Always try to land on your feet or fall forward
(measurement is the part of the body landing
closest to the take-off line.
Shot Put Delivery Technique
• Eyes to the ceiling.
• Punch the shot away from the neck.
• Keep the elbow high at all times. Lowering the elbow
can cause the shot to be thrown like a baseball and
could result in an injury.
• Finish the punch with a flip of the wrist.
• The left side of the body will be stopped and locked to
help form the block.
• The left arm will be tucked close to the side of the
Shot Put Technique Drills
Arm Strike - Use this drill for the arm delivery in the shot put. a) The thrower
will be standing tall facing the throwing direction
b) The thrower will place the shot against his neck.
c) The thrower will sky the eyes to the ceiling and push the shot away from
his neck focusing on driving through the shot towards the throwing area.
d) The thrower needs to flip the wrist at the end.
Two Arm Putts - Use this drill for proper release of the shot. a) The thrower
will stand facing the sector.
b) Place the shot in both hands in chest pass position.
c) Check that the hands are behind the shot and the thumbs are down.
d) Push the shot out with both hands, make sure the elbows stay high.
e) Flip the wrists at the end of the throw.
f) This throw can also be done with a medicine ball.
Wrist Flips - Use this drill for proper release of the shot.
a) The thrower will stand facing the sector.
b) The thrower starts with the shot above his head in his throwing hand
c) The thrower will flip the shot out of his hand
High Jump Suggested Beginner
• Suggested high jump training for beginning or intermediate
• Day 1 - 8 x 50m on the track curve
• Day 2 - circle drills, back overs, 5-step scissors, 5-step
• Day 3 - 10 minute run, 4 x 100m
• Day 4 - circle drills, back overs, 5-step hurdle drills, full
• Day 5 - simulate competition jumping with bar
• Day 6/7 - 4 step jumps off of a box or ramp, full approach
runs with no jumps
High Jump Techniques
Use Your Arms
The last three steps are the most difficult for the body, and even more
difficult to coordinate with the arms. On the penultimate step of the high
jump, jumpers should have both arms back behind the body, elbows
bent, in preparation for the drive and block at the same time as the
One of the more difficult, yet most important sections of the high jump
for most athletes to nail down is the coordination of the last three steps.
In the last three steps of the high jump, the athlete's body should be
leaning away from the bar. If a coach were to take a picture of the body
position on the very last step, a line should be able to be drawn from
the top of the head, down the length of the spine and continuing down
the takeoff leg to the ground.
Proper Softball Throwing Technique
- Plant the back foot, on the side of your throwing arm, and step with
the front foot toward the receiver.
- As you step, turn the shoulder of your gloved hand also toward the
- Reach down and back for power, keeping your hand on top of the ball
- Extend the arm of the gloved hand forward, for balance, generally
with the elbow somewhat bent.
- Release the ball out in front of your body after your arm passes your
- Follow through with your arm and body -- do not let your throwing
side stay back.
- The entire throwing motion should be smooth, not herky-jerky.
- Start off slowly until the entire process becomes natural and
Proper Javelin Form
Place your right foot with the toes immediately behind the mark and place the heel of
your left foot 1 to 1 1/2 feet in front of your right. Direct your "back foot" at a 45degree angle pointed towards your right while your left toes point directly in front of
you. Test your balance and adjust as necessary.
Grip the turbo mini javelin with your right hand at the grip-mark two-thirds of the way
up the shaft. Your fist will be approximately one to two inches from the feathershaped "fletching" at the javelin's back.
Raise the javelin with your right hand until your fist is a foot or so above the height of
your head. Smoothly pull the hand back while pivoting your hips to the right. Maintain
Throw the javelin by pivoting your hips to face your front as you swing your arm
forward and extend your elbow in the direction that you are aiming. Release your
grip just before your hand begins to move down from the arch, allowing you to let go
of the javelin once it reaches the highest point of the throw.
Keep your feet planted and your spine straight as you complete the throw.
Proper Frisbee Technique
Check your stance. Just as in throwing a football, a baseball, or a basketball, you need to
be relatively secure in your footing, at least while learning the basic techniques. When
you get more proficient and handling and throwing the Frisbee, then you can get height
and distance from a variety of off-balance stances.
Grip the Frisbee for a basic throw, thumb on top, index finger along the ridge, with the other
fingers curled under the ridge. Think of using your index finger as a true pointer: as you
move your arm in the necessary arc to throw, let the Frisbee go when your index finger is
pointing at the person to whom you are throwing.
Let the Frisbee go with a solid "snap," at about chest height, at an angle parallel to the
ground. In low wind, this basic throw guarantees you maximum distance, as long as you
have a good release at a flat angle.
Throw it from an underhand position to get more height and, possibly, more distance. Grip
the Frisbee as described above, but start with it at your side, vertical to the ground on the
same side as your throwing hand. Bring it up in an arc toward the center line of your body
and let it go when you get it almost horizontal.