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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Bull

Teaching the Essential Skills of Track & Field

Teaching Track & Field is about more than teaching the principles of run, jump and throw. Track and Field is about getting students to set goals and push themselves to be the best athlete they can be. It’s not about coming 1st, 2nd, 3rd or last.

Usain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet. Most kids know this. What they don’t know is that he is also one of the hardest working. Trayvon Bromell came last in the 100M sprints at the 2018 Olympics. Most people do not know him. He works as hard as Usain Bolt and pushes his body to the absolute limit. He also beat his personal best. That is what Track & Field is about.

When starting my Track & Field units, my BIG QUESTION is always… What is the meaning of success in Athletics? Student answers always vary, but then I show them this video and ask the question again.

The answer to this question should become more clear to your students. Athletics is about pushing yourself and NEVER GIVING UP.

Every student can find a skill/event to love. It teaches fundamental skills based on the principle of run, jump and throw while also teaching students the skill of goal setting, resilience and persistence. Students learn to reach obtainable marks and try to beat their old times/distances.

Teaching Track & Field involves the following:


- Running incorporates the following movements: speed, agility, acceleration, coordination, running a curve, running and jumping combinations, sprint slaloming - Students eyes should be focused forward throughout the run - Drive off ground with front part of foot - Full extension of rear leg - Knee drives forward - Body leans slightly forward - Arm drives towards the back - Head and upper body are stable - Smooth and rhythmical action - Legs and feet move in a straight line - Shoulders and hips are square


- Jumping incorporates the following skills: standing jumps, single and double foot take-offs, running jumps, scissor jumps, hopping, jumping for height and distance - Students should focus on eyes focused forward - Upright body position with flat back - Contact ground with mid to flat foot and bend knees prior to take off - Lift hips high on take off - Forceful thrust of OPPOSITE arm as take off leg extends


- Throwing incorporates the following skills: one and two hand delivery, whole body throwing, underarm throwing, overarm throwing, throwing for distance, throwing for accuracy, rotational throwing, stepping and throwing - Knees should be bent in all throwing events

- hips to rotate and waist to open towards the target - Arm to follow through and be straight on output of object - Back foot follows through with momentum of throw

Any student can connect with one of these 3 skills. When done correctly, Track & Field is a unit where you will see your students engage, grow and achieve. They love to set a mark and then try and beat that mark. Teach your students how to goal set and you will see them climb mountain after mountain - being like Derek Redmond and NEVER GIVING UP!

To learn more about Track & Field, click the poster below.

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