How to Teach Kids How to Run Faster

Rear view of a couple squatting to hug their children (6-8)

Some kids just love to run, whether it's for sport or simply for fun. Running gives kids an opportunity to use up some of their virtually endless energy. There are some things parents can do to help their kids learn how to run faster. Running faster, meeting goals and improving as an athlete can be rewarding and beneficial for children who participate in team sports or just wish to be their best.

Make running and sports fun for your kids. The purpose of teaching your kids to run faster and participate in sports should be for their enjoyment. Encourage your kids and be their biggest cheerleader. Celebrate with them when they beat their personal records and support them when they fall short.

Set goals with your children. Take time to assess each child's running skills and speed, then work with them to decide what goals they'd like to reach. Take each child's level of fitness and athletic ability into consideration and make goals that are realistic, so that they can each achieve them.

Make running a family event. Don't watch your kids run. Get out there and run with them if you wish to have them develop a love of running. If they see you enjoying it, they'll be more likely to keep practicing and working on improving their speed.

Work on proper running form. Children can make common mistakes while running and these mistakes can slow them down. Ensure that your kids aren't overextending their lead foot. Doing so can cause them to continually have to stop and start. Kids should place their lead foot right under their hips to make them faster and smoother runners.

Show your kids how to run without bobbing their heads and swinging their arms to the sides. Doing this wastes energy and slows them down. Arms should be at 90-degree angles and pump back and forth from the hips to the back of the buttocks -- each arm pumping forward and back with the opposite leg.

Tell your kids to stand up straight as a board, with their hips, shoulders and ankles all in line. Tell them to look straight ahead instead of looking at their feet or behind them. When kids look down or to the side, it uses up energy and can distract their focus, costing them time. Say, "Bend your knees slightly and lean forward at your ankles, so that your heels just barely touch the ground." Have them start running from this position so that they run on their forefeet instead of their heels. Leaning their bodies too far forward can cause them to run on their heels, which slows them down.

Encourage your kids to quickly lift off the foot while running. When their forefoot hits the ground, their heel should quickly lift up toward their hips. Doing this will get their feet off the ground faster with each step.

Practice, practice, practice. Kids need to practice as much as possible to get faster. Reward your kids when they meet their goals to keep them motivated.