back to soccer skills

Section 1

Part 3 - Proper Running Technique


(For this scene we will start with a forward view of the coach talking and then pan and zoom to different points on their body as the text dictates. Perspective changes may be necessary to keep the scene dynamic as it is a little long-winded)

Coach: "Now that you've seen and felt a difference bouncing on the spot, let's take a look at the difference in a running perspective. First let's start with the 'heel-toe' style of running which is like the 'flat-foot' style of standing. 'Hell-toe' is easily the most commonly used style for jogging and light running but it is by far the worst thing you can do for your knees and hips. 'Heel-toe' is the way nearly everyone walks which, as the name suggests, as you run, walk, or whatever, you land on your heel and roll to your toe which you then use to push off. The reason this is so hard on your knees and hips is that because you're landing on your heel, all the force form the landing impact has to be absorbed by the hips and knees. The hip joint has virtually no give in this case so it's up to the knee. The knee can absorb the impact but the angles are not ideal so sooner rather than later you knees will not be what they once were.

So what's the alternative to this? Well the answer is simple: 'Toe running.' The majority of people who do 'heel-toe for jogging will switch to 'toe running' when they want to do a full out sprint. It's the natural progression because it's more efficient and provides more 'spring' into each step just like standing on your toes does. The difference between the two styles is that in 'toe running' you land on the balls of your feet (your toes) as opposed to your hell. Landing on your toes (balls of your feet) allows the impact of the landing to be shared between the knees and then ankles. Your ankle is much better suited to absorb impact seeing as your entire calf muscle is available for this motion. Landing on your toes also creates a sort of 'springboard' effect. As you land on your toes you are using the same muscles you will soon be using to push off with."

(This scene will be done in motion with the coach running and the camera following beside. Panning and zooming will have to be done as the coach talks about knees and ankles and such. This scene might also be done with the coach on a treadmill for simplicity; however, if the treadmill hides the difference between 'heel-toe' and 'toe running' then it will have to be done the hard way)

Coach: "Ok, so now we know the theory between the two running styles, now let's take a look at them in action. Let's start out with the standard 'hell-toe' style of running. Here I am at a nice jog. My hells are impacting the ground first and I roll to my toes to generate my forward motion."
(when the coach talks about their heels touching the ground first, do a close-up, slow-motion shot of the foot as it lands and pushes off)

Coach: "Notice that when I land the joint to bend the most is the knee. Again, this means that most of the force of the impact is absorbed by the knee. Notice also how I don't really spring forward with each step; it's more like I'm pulling myself forward."
(do a close-up shot of the whole leg and the lower torso to best show the mechanics of what happens when the coach runs. A slightly slower motion may by required to best see the mechanics)

Coach: "So that's the 'heel-toe' running style, let's look at 'toe running.' Once again I'm doing a nice slow jog. Notice this time that I'm almost pointing my toe in anticipation of landing. This pointing allows the ankle to absorb the impact over a longer distance. The idea is to never allow your hell to support any weight whatsoever. It's likely, especially on grass, to touch a little but it should never actually have any weight on it."
(once again for the impact shot do the slow-motion scene of the foot landing and taking off)

Coach: "This time as I land my ankle is the first joint to start bending. This takes the initial shock off of the knee and the hip. With the shock of landing gone we are left with a very fluid motion. Notice how smoothly and effortlessly this jog seems. You can also see the 'springboard' effect that comes form my ankles."
(again do a close-up shot of the whole leg and lower torso)

Coach: "Let's look at both of these styles again. You can see with the 'heel-toe style my motions are a lot more forced. You can also see that nearly all the power for the run is coming from the knee and hip, the ankle is doing little more that a short flick at the end of the stride. With the 'toe-running' style things are very different. Each step is like s pring that starts at the ankle, moves up to the knee then the hip. This is also the way the impact is spread out. The ankle which can handle the impact the best bears the brunt of the force, then the knee kicks in, and finally the hip which is least best at handling impact."
(this will be a split screen scene with one running style on the left and one on the right)

Coach: "So now that you're armed with this information try going for a jog. See if you can figure out which style you're doing. Perhaps you're doing one or maybe a bit of both. Even if you think you're doing everything perfect, don't be so stubborn as to not at least check it out. Always analyze what you're doing, you may find that the smallest fix can have the biggest difference. For those of you who know you're running 'heel-toe', you will have the toughest time. Your calf muscles won't be used to the kind of stress you're going to start putting on them. Don't be discouraged and keep at it. Try running on softer surfaces like grass, dirt and wood chips. As your legs get stronger you will find little difference between running on the softest trail or the toughest concrete."
(This scene starts out looking at the coach. Transition between scenes of people running on the different surfaces that the coach mentions. Make sure it is easy to tell the difference between them)