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Sprinting Activity Lesson Plan


Brookfield (2017) argue that developing a lesson plan is one of the most effective ways of approaching any process of teaching, especially when there are specific objectives to be met. However, in the process of implementing the lesson pans, teachers encounter various cultural challenge that require the application of various pedagogical theories and approaches to address. This essay highlights an athletics lesson plan that considers bullying as a cultural issue that must be addressed during PE lessons. The plan will take advantage of critical pedagogy approaches to ensure that no student bullies their colleagues during the activity. The activity targets kids of up to ten years. The report outlines 30-minute sprints sessions that can be used in a primary school coaching clinic session. It considers a vast array of activities that a coach can do during a sprint session with the kids.

Sprints are particularly chosen because it is easy to set up, conduct and keeps the children active. The basic contents of the plan include warm-up, basic sprinting technique shuttle relays and standing starts. Throughout this session plan, various theoretical perspective swill be applied, including the sports education model, the constraint led approach, and a learner cantered approach.

Warm up


Teachers should use warm up approaches in children that are different from those used in adults or more experienced athletes. According to Access Armour (2014), this is because the main reason for conducting warm up in younger children may be different from the main reason for conducting the same in adults or more experienced athletes. Whereas warm up for young athletes are certainly important achieving the common objectives of preparing joints and muscles for the subsequent activity, helping to prevent injury and raising heart rate and body temperatures, the main reason for warmup in kids is to set the pace and mood for the activity that follows and to help them develop the required enthusiasm for participation (Ennis, 2016). With a better enthusiasm for the activity, the kids will be able to gain excitement, understand the meaning of sprinting and socially interact with each other – all which characterise the sports education model.

As a theoretical approach to enhancing authentic sports, the Sports Education model is characterised by unique features that differentiates it from other education models and can be a useful tool for teaching sprinting. It incorporates six major features such as affiliations, formal competition, record keeping, seasons, culmination event and festivity. The main aim ofr its inclusion into this activity plan is to provide motivating and positive sports experiences. Therefore, the proposed activity plan will incorporate sports education model by organizing the students in teams and making the sprinting activities periodic (once a month).

Similarly, as stated by Hastie et al (2013), warm up in children’s sports activity is important in capturing the children’s attention and keeping them ‘on side’ for the upcoming activity. More importantly, according to Renshaw & Chow (2019), warm up activity in young athletes is also ideal for helping them to develop the athletic qualities and general movement techniques in them.

Against this backdrop, the warmup should be active, fun and has a range of physical and movement challenges that helps to achieve these objectives, while maintaining the basic tenets of the sports education model. While a warm-up session that achieves these objectives can be achieved in several ways, it should be dominated by fun activities, and should be adjusted to suite the prevailing circumstances i.e. making use of the constraint led approaches to coaching (Hastie et al, 2014). Each kid will actively be involved in these warm-up activities, a typical way of applying the sports education model. Therefore, the following warm-up activities will be adopted for the lesson:

Warm up activity 1: A movement game


To warm up in preparation for an upcoming sprinting activity


Large square playing area Ground markers

A large square area will be created with ground markers, marking two gates on opposite sides of the playground. One or two taggers will then be chosen before asking the athletes to scatter around the playing area. Once the game starts, any athlete that is tagged by a tagger must run out towards the closest gate and get back into the game through the gate on the opposite side of the playing area. The game will be played until each of the athletes play the role of a tagger.

By ensuring that each athlete plays the role of a tagger, an opportunity will be created for each potentially marginalised student – in accordance with the sports education model. Here, the focus will be on girls and potentially low skilled students whom research (Armour, 2014) show that they tend to get a ‘fair go’ during sports education. Armour (2014) also wrote of low-skilled students whose response to sports education is summarised in “I think I can”. For those students, there is a belief that they can not only improve their skill levels but also positively contribute to their teams. It can help eliminate bullying by making the students feel a sense of trust and belonging among with the teammates.

Warmup activity 2


To warm up in preparation for an upcoming sprinting activity


Large square playing area

The athletes will be grouped in pairs, then asked to face each other and while balancing on one leg, they should place the palm of their hands on their partners’ palms. They will be paired based on their heights to ensure power balance between each pair. They will then be asked to unbalance each other through gentle, non-jerky and pushy movements. They may also hop backwards, forwards or side by side while playing.

This activity incorporates the concept of critical pedagogy because the children will be asked to pair up- thereby changing the classroom dynamics. In this regard, critical pedagogy is all about challenging the existing power structures, one of the most common power dynamics is that of student-student relationship Shelley & McCuang (2018), which this activity seeks to change. Rather than having the children stand side-by-side while conducting this activity, they will be asked to face each other in a circle or semi-circle. This allows for better interaction and conversation between the children – developing a rapport between themselves to prevent the emergence of bullying tendencies. Moreover, the activity will also facilitate the incorporation of the sports education model, in the sense of enabling the students to learn from one other and depend on the other’s skill levels. Those with low skill levels will learn from those familiar with the aspects of this activity.

Nonetheless, these two activities will aim at staring the session ‘on the right foot’, which is important when coaching young children. During the entire warm-up session, the key to teacher’s focus will be to understand the athletes’ characteristics and ensuring that the activities correspond with those characteristics.

Main Activity: The Fun Sprint Lesson Plan

Faigenbaum et al (2019) observed that formal sprint activities are not popular in schools and young athletes may not have the interest or patient to perform them. As such, teachers of young athletes might make the activity too boring if they become too technical with it. In this regard, Pietro (2018) wrote that young athletes might quickly lose interest or feel embarrassed or awkward when asked to perform the drills when asked to perform sprinting drills that are beyond their abilities. As such, the following lesson plan entails gross motor movements and high activity sprinting drills that can be performed through minimum skills. Furthermore, as Lea & Branko (2020) observed, sprinting is one of the events that are easiest to teach in a large group because of its simplicity. Furthermore, it requires minimal equipment – making it easy to organize and reducing the waiting time (Faigenbaum et al, 2019).

The plan considered individual constraints by selecting an activity that requires minimum skills. Furthermore, by selecting a simple and easier to teach activity that requires minimal equipment, this lesson plan considered environmental constraints. Similarly, by selecting an activity that is easy to organize and reduces waiting time, the plan considered environmental constraints.


An unmarked grass area, a basketball court or just an unmarked oval rea.


For a class of 30 athletes, the teacher will require:

10 dome markers 5 relay batons.


Students in groups of six will be asked to line up behind a coloured dome, with an opposite colour of dome positioned 20 metres way from the other. This will be considered the activity area. Nonetheless, the students can choose to use a much shorter distance between the dome markers.

The children will be spaced at a considerable distance away from each other to avoid interference.

In all the following activities, a total of five athletes (one selected from each group) will run at one time, and they are not required to run until they receive an instruction to do so. More importantly, to keep the session moving, the next line of runners will start off before the previous group reaches the markers on the opposite end. Upon reaching the other end, the athletes are required to line up again and stay there facing towards the point from which they have just run. Meanwhile, the teacher can instruct the children to form a straight line and keep to themselves, their feet and hands while waiting.

By selecting one student from a group of five, the students will participate in teams and enjoy competing with friends with whom they have developed consistent team membership. Also, the students will be asked to select the team from which their competitor will come from, enabling them to make decisions without the teacher’s input. This will enable the students to discuss their social agendas in a way that encourages a high level of student investment – as per the principle of the sports education model.


Activity working Model

Some of the basic sprinting techniques that will be observed during the entire activity include the following:

All athletes are expected to keep a vision of the front by keeping their heads level All athletes are required to hold square their shoulders to the front The trunk and head should be held upright The limbs and feet should be moved on a straight path Athletes should pivot their arms about their shoulder joints while remaining bent at the elbow at a 90 degrees angle They should pick up their feet and knees While sprinting, they should maintain a generally rhythmic and coordinated action They should use quick and light movements as they run

Safety and Well-being Tips

While sprinting, there are common mistakes that young athletes make, that the coach should be on the look-out for. These common mistakes include:

Poor head position: whereas most kids look forward when sprinting, some do so while tilting their head back or forward. Cahil et al (2019) suggested that those with their heads tilted backwards should generally lower their chin, while those with their heads down should generally maintain a lifted gaze. Regardless of how they position their head, according to Engel et al (2018), the coach should ensure that the kids maintain a posture whereby their heads are over their shoulders while their chins are held downwards but not tucked.

Excessive backward or forward leaning: whereas children should ‘run tall’, it is not uncommon for children to run while excessively leaning forward while bending their knees (Ramirez-Campillo et al, 2020). In such a scenario, according to Cahil et al (2019), the teacher should tell the children that if they run while crouching forward, their legs will not have enough room for movement – so thy need to ‘run tall’.

On the other hand, it is less common but still a problem that children excessively lean back while running. According to Engel et al (2018), this often occurs when the kid responds to the instruction of ‘keeping lifting their knees’ – exaggerating the effort and thus leaning backwards with their entire torso.

Meanwhile, the following activities will be conducted to bring fun into the Sprinting exercise

Activity 1: Running with big steps


To make the group have fun and be active To experiment the kids’ stride length

Activity 2: running with small strides


To challenge the kids with another fun activity To further experiment the kids’ stride length To interduce quick, light steps

Pitter-patter running

The kids will be asked to run in little fast steps toward the other end – they d not need to count their steps

The teacher will be required to:

Order Now

Encourage quick and light steps Keep an eye on the athletes who rub or drag their feet along the playground and ask them to instead, tap their feet along the playground Keep an eye on the athletes who simply jog along and ask them to instead move along at only one-foot length at a time Encourage the kids to ‘pump’ their arms

By encouraging the students to take quick and light steps, and encouraging them to ‘pump’ their arms, the coach would be applying the sports education model, whereby the athletes are placed at the centre of the learning activity, which means while they are responsible for executing the activity, the coach is only responsible for facilitating them

Activity 3: Running with folded arms


To demonstrate the important contribution that arms make in running


The kids are asked to fold their arms around their chest and run over the 20 meters distance. At the same time, the teacher should ask those standing to observe the effect that folding hands has on the runners (i.e., how it looks like to run with arms folded around the chest).

After each athlete has attempted to run with their arms folded the teacher should ask the group to


What it felt to run with arms around the chest What they think is the best way to run What it looked like to run with arms folded around the chest

Activity 4: Rehearsal for Arm Action


To orient the kids to basic arm action for sprinting


Standing in their spaced lines, the kids should practice basic arm action for sprinting at increasing speeds. To perform this as their basic workout model, the kids will be required to:

Maintain a relaxed hand as if they are holding a potato chip on their hand

Experiment with swinging their hands incorrectly by keeping them in a straight position at the elbow as well as across their body to help them understand the importance of maintaining the correct arm action, then

Rehearse the correct arm action as they run on the spot

Activity 4: Shuttle relays


To ensure a fun conclusion of the sprinting session

To give the kids an opportunity to put all the learnt activities into action


Ensure all the kids understand the format of the shuttle relay- whereby the tams are split into half and, participants standing at each side of the running track. The relay will progress back and forth.

All runners should use the normal running action – whereby they hold the relay button at the bottom end to allow them ‘pump their arms

The incoming runner holds the button vertically and extends their arms when they are nearly passing it on

The recipient receives the button with arms extended at the chest level while holding the hands together in a butterfly position

The incoming athlete approaches the outgoing runner at a slightly to the side position to avoid collusion

The kids will conduct two one-minute-relays, whereby the teams perform the relays for one minute and team that reaches ahead of the one-minute mark is considered the winner. The relay and ‘passing the button’ exemplify critical pedagogy and its use in eliminating bullies as it cultivates the spirit of teamwork, each kid viewing the other as their ‘equal’ partner in the team (Fitzpatrick, 2019). At the end of the sprinting session, an award-winning ceremony will be held, in consistent with the sports education model, which is characterised by a culmination event. The ceremony will entail an announcement of the winning team as well as piece of information regarding the next competition.

More importantly, this lesson plan adopts the four lenses of a critically reflective teacher namely: the student’s eyes, colleague’s perceptions, theory and personal experience as proposed by (Bookfield, 2017). regarding the student’s eyes, the teacher will maintain an awareness of how the students are experiencing learning to facilitate good decisions on how to organize learning, sequence the sports instruction and apply specific activity protocols during the lesson. For instance, as earlier highlighted, the lesson activities are designed based on the student’s capability and skill level- exemplifying a teaching strategy that operates from the ‘students’ eyes’. Regarding the colleague’s perception, the lesson will include one more teacher, who will debrief the teams at the end of the completion (i.e. during the award-winning ceremony) to help identify the gaps and identify either negative or positive things about the just concluded activity. Regarding personal experience, the teacher will refer to personal experience of previous sprinting activities, especially when implementing the health and well-being tips. Lastly, regarding theory, the activity will draw on the theory of critical pedagogy as a means of addressing bullying.

In conclusion, this session includes a large amount of activities that might not fit in the 30-minute slot, but it can still be done with slight modification of the activities. The key to success in this activity is to provide succinct and clear explanations, keeping the kids moving and avoiding spending too much time in each activity, all which are effective coaching principles when handling young athletes (Lee et al, 2017).


Access armour (Ed.) 2014. Pedagogical cases in physical education and youth sport (electronic resource). London: Routledge. Chapter 19: Marianne

Blynova, O.Y., Kruglov, K., Semenov, O., Los, O. and Popovych, I.S., 2020. Psychological safety of the learning environment in sports school as a factor of achievement motivation development in young athletes.

Brookfield 2017. Becoming a critically reflective teacher (available as an ebook in guided reading) p161-170.

Cahill, M.J., Oliver, J.L., Cronin, J.B., Clark, K.P., Cross, M.R. and Lloyd, R.S., 2019. Sled-pull load–velocity profiling and implications for sprint training prescription in young male athletes. Sports, 7(5), p.119.

Engel, F.A., Ackermann, A., Chtourou, H. and Sperlich, B., 2018. High-intensity interval training performed by young athletes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in physiology, 9, p.1012.

Faigenbaum, A.D., MacDonald, J.P. and Haff, G.G., 2019. Are young athletes strong enough for sport? DREAM On. Current sports medicine reports, 18(1), pp.6-8.

Fitzpatrick, K., 2019. What happened to critical pedagogy in physical education? An analysis of key critical work in the field. European Physical Education Review, 25(4), pp.1128-1145.

Hastie et al. 2013. The Development of Skill and Knowledge During a Sport Education Season of Track and Field Athletics

Lea, Ž. and Branko, Š., 2020. Dropout rate of Slovenian's most successful young athletes. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 20, pp.2182-2188.

Lee, Y.H., Hwang, S. and Choi, Y., 2017. Relationship between coaching leadership style and young athletes' social responsibility. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 45(8), pp.1385-1396.

Pietro, M., 2018. Monitoring and upgrading of coordinative and conditional capacities of young athletes practicing handball. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 18, pp.465-468.

Ramirez-Campillo, R., Castillo, D., Raya-González, J., Moran, J., de Villarreal, E.S. and Lloyd, R.S., 2020. Effects of Plyometric Jump Training on Jump and Sprint Performance in Young Male Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, pp.1-19.

Renshaw and Chow (2019) Constraint-led approach to sport and physical education pedagogy Shelley, K. and McCuaig, L., 2018. Close encounters with critical pedagogy in socio-critically informed health education teacher education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 23(5), pp.510-523.

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