Monthly Archives: December 2016

When Should Kids Learn to Crouch Start?

“At what age should a young athlete begin to learn the crouch start?”

I am asked this all of the time. My answer is: “When they will actually benefit from it”.

They will benefit from a crouch start if:

  1. They have learnt basic acceleration skills.
  2. They can perform a good standing sprint start.

If they don’t know the basics of acceleration and/or cannot demonstrate a good standing sprint start, they are not ready to seriously be taught how to crouch.

To be of any benefit, a crouch start needs to be performed well. Performed poorly, it will slow the athlete down.

It is common for people to think that a young athlete will get a better start simply by using a crouch start. You only have to see some kids’ interpretations of how a crouch start should look to know that this is untrue.

They will only get a better start if they know how to do a crouch start and can cope with the demands of the skill. Many kids are actually better off using a standing start.

Despite this, at a coaching clinic I will sometimes teach kids – from about nine years of age – the basics of a crouch start. My reasoning is that it is a bit of fun. It is also something novel for the kids to try. I know that most of the kids will not be up to performing the skill well, but I also know they love trying and will feel a bit special learning an “advanced” technique. Will most do it well enough that it will benefit them? No. Will prematurely learning a few crouch start pointers harm them? No.

But if I am to seriously try to teach a child to crouch start, with the aim of transitioning them to use this skill regularly in competition, the athlete must achieve the following pre-requisites:

  1. The competent demonstration of wall drills.
  2. The ability to perform a good leaning start.
  3. The ability to accelerate well out of a standing sprint start position.
  4. The necessary strength to hold the basic crouch starting positions.

If they achieve “pass” marks in all of the above competencies, then I believe that the athlete, regardless of their age, can begin the process of properly learning to crouch start. If any of the above areas cannot be achieved then I will work to remedy this prior to progressing any further.

Let me know what you think!

Do you agree? What are your experiences teaching or learning crouch starts? I would love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a reply/comment or by using the contact details below.

Further reading

How to Teach Kids to Lean When They Accelerate

What is a Leaning Start & How Can It Help Young Athletes?

15 Simple Tips You Need to Know for a Standing Sprint Start

What Is A 3-Point Start & How Can It Help Young Athletes?

Starting Blocks: How to Set Them Up In 3 Easy Stepsmembership HERE.

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20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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