5 Top Tips For Standing Start Foot Positioning
A standing start is commonly used by kids in a range of running events, including sprint, middle distance, and long distance races.
Below are some foot placement guidelines to use when teaching young athletes to take up a standing start “On Your Marks” position.
1. Put One Foot Forward & One Foot Back
Initially, allow kids to put forward whichever foot feels most comfortable. You can later experiment with changing feet, particularly if the child routinely takes a step backward or lifts their front foot when starting to run.
2. Keep The Front Foot Behind The Line
To remain within the rules, the front foot should be behind, and not touching, the start line.
3. Point Both Feet Forward
Point the toes in the direction you want to go.
It is very common for kids to point their back foot at 45 degrees out to the side. Pointing both feet out to the side is less common, but can still occur.
4. Position the Back Foot One Foot-Length Behind the Front Foot
It is very common for kids to place their back foot way too far behind their front foot. A distance of one foot-length is enough.
5. Place the Feet Shoulder-Width Apart
To help with balance, create a good base of support by moving the feet laterally shoulder-width apart.
Often kids will respond to being told to point both feet to the front by putting one foot directly behind the other. In this case, the advice has been misinterpreted and will result in a very narrow base of support causing balance and stability issues.
- Put one foot forward & one foot back
- Keep the front foot behind the line
- Point both feet forward
- Position the back foot one foot-length behind the front foot
- Place the feet shoulder-width apart
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.