slow runners

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by pu.ma, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Anyone have kids who were slow runners but turned into burners when they got older? I've got 2 boys under the age of 12 that are average to below average in terms of speed. And they run funny too although I notice a lot of kids that age seem to.
     
  2. VolklP19

    VolklP19 Member

    Jun 23, 2010
    Illinois
    My kid is funny as well :thumbsup:

    I know many of the players on my older ones team ended up in cross country - some even got some money for college.

    My younger one has to run about 2 miles at the begining of all outdoor practices. She was slow and has asthma but she's caught on to about mid-pack and actually enjoys running now.
     
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  3. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My son was remarkably un-athletic in some ways--not particularly fast and VERY poor lateral quickness; a far from explosive first step as well.

    He didn't blossom into an athletic prodigy by any means, but staying in the game and just being active brought him more or less up to speed. He's reasonably fast now, nothing spectacular but he played left back and outside mid for his college team, FWIW.
     
  4. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd forgot this until I re-read your post about "running funny."

    My son used to run without using his arms properly. Instead of pumping them in rhythm and keeping them reasonably close to his body, he would run with both of them outstretched, like full span, without moving them much at all. It was ridiculous.

    He did outgrow that eventually!
     
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  5. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Thanks for sharing. I've got one who looks like his feet are moving exceedingly fast but has these tiny little strides. The other one looks like a T-Rex but with long gangly arms just swaying around from side to side. Makes me chuckle just thinking about it, ha ha. But when I'm watching sometimes can't help but think, what the heck, how is it even possible to run like that, lol.
     
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  6. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    My oldest son (not a soccer player) ran pretty funny when he started cross country and running some 5ks when he was about 11 -- moved his head around a lot, arms all over the place, short strides. I Googled a bunch and read a bunch of contradictory stuff before I finally just took him out and videotaped him on a track to show him what he was doing (he's really coachable). That and, when he got to high school, having a coach tell him he needed to work his arms like he was reaching forward to pull a rope back along his sides seemed to fix a lot of it. The strides were and are a product of tight hamstrings (according to his longtime doctor), though he's never done enough of the stretching that might have improved it to make a difference.

    Bottom line, he's about to finish high school and has run XC and track all the way through. He isn't blazing fast (and definitely no sprinter), but he's done fairly well at it. And in a 10k, he's genuinely fairly fast, competes for medals, ... And loves to run.
     
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  7. Benny Dargle

    Benny Dargle Member+

    Jul 23, 2008
    LA
    Running is a skill no different than kicking a soccer ball, shooting a basketball, hitting a baseball, or executing a move in gymnastics or dance. Some people can do it naturally, some people can just watch others and imitate, but most people could get better with some private instruction and training. You have to teach the form and then practice it regularly so it becomes muscle memory. At the beginning, it will slow a player down because he or she starts thinking when they run rather than doing it instinctively. Eventually, however, it becomes automatic and speed/quickness will improve. The likely improvement is usually not much more than 1/2 a step, but that can make the difference in a game like soccer. It's about how you start/push off, making your movements more efficient, and the difference between sprinting form and running form. Cross country running is really a different skill altogether, although there are certainly moments in a soccer game where the required running is like cross country. Most times, however, that's not where the major differences in performance can be achieved.

    At the recommendation of a coach, my oldest son got some training at a time when few people were doing much private training of any kind. He didn't become a speedster, but he did go from a player deep on the bench to a front line starter after doing the training for about a year. The difference was quite noticeable.
     
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  8. Iniesta62106

    Iniesta62106 New Member

    Sep 17, 2018
    My kid and her friends did a season of speed and agility at a young age. Thought it was probably going to be nonsense, but she picked up tons of tips on form! He told them all to move their hands/arms “cheek to cheek” which caused a lot of laughter and also caused them to remember. A good experience even though I felt a little ridiculous writing the check.
     
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  9. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Though I know it would probably be the best solution, I really dont want to or have money to spend on private training. The most interesting article I've read in it's simplest form is to just run a sub 10 second distance and always time it to track improvement. In the spring, I'm going to try doing this. Do a few reps each week at the track, have the boys time themselves and see if that builds up some interest.
     
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  10. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    You might incorporate the video piece -- using your phone to video their form so you and they can look at it and see if there's anything obvious to correct. That seemed to connect the dots for my son (and I'm no running coach -- the couple of things I saw were the super-obvious stuff anyone could pick out).
     
  11. pu.ma

    pu.ma Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    Yes, will defintely try the video piece. Will have them film me first because in my mind, I've got world class form. Would be curious to see what I really look like.
     
  12. Benny Dargle

    Benny Dargle Member+

    Jul 23, 2008
    LA
    I get it. Fortunately, my son was able to do it through a sports fitness place where he did two private sessions and then slotted into their youth classes. That made the overall price much more reasonable.
     

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