In this post we share a mental toughness finishing drill and three games that can be used to change things up in your cross country practices.
In the video clip below Coach Ford Mastin, Head Track Coach at Oklahoma Baptist University discusses how to manage “tough practices” and how often he asks his runners to “suffer”. He explains three different games that can be used to incorporate running while not asking the players to “suffer”. He also shares a drill that he utilizes to help develop the toughness that a cross country runner needs at the end of a race.
Coach Mastin’s Kill Drill is designed to help runners develop the attitude and confidence that they can pass down the stretch and they can hold off runners down the stretch. The drill helps them to feel what it is like in the closing moments of a big race when one spot can make a huge difference in whether you teams wins or loses.
He begins the Kill Drill either 400 of 800 meter from the finish line. Lining his runners up slowest to fastest, he sends them off with a staggered start. You must do the appropriate math for each runner so that you know how much of a head start to give the runner lined up in front. The goal would be to stagger the runners so that they were all finishing at about the same time.
Coach Mastin also describes three different running games that he as used to help change things up at practice. He points out that when he makes their season plan, he plans no more than two hard practices per week. He only wants them to feel the “suffering” a couple of times a week.
His running games are one way that he balances the tough practices with other workouts.
1. Cage the Lion – Mark two lines 150 meters apart. Place runners on one line. Select one runner and place them in the middle between the lines. On the coaches call, the line of runners take off running towards the opposite line. The runner in the middle tries to touch as many people as possible. If a runner is touched, then he/she will join the group in the middle. The whole line will now turn around and run back to the original line. Now there are more people in the middle trying to touch. Continue playing until you get the desired amount of running in.
2. Scavenger Hunt – Place clues in different locations. Each clue sends the runners to a different location for the next clue. Vary the length of the runs to get the desired workout in. Be sure to include a prize at the end.
3. Golf – This can be played on a golf course (if you can get permission) or in a large field with some flag or cone marking “holes”. Based on the yardage for each hole assign a time that will be Par for that hole. For example, if the first hole is 350 yards you might say that you need to run this hole in 70-seconds for a par. Faster than par is a birdie. Slower than par is a bogey. Obviously the times you set will depend on the yardage and the abilities of your team.
The clip is just a sample of Coach Mastin’s presentation at a recent Glazier Track and Field Clinic. For information about how to gain access to his entire presentation, as well as hundreds of other great clinic presentation click the link Glazier Track and Field Clinics
The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your volume is turned on and that you have access to the site. Note some schools block access to YouTube.