drills to correct knee drive in running and sprinting

King Sports

technique Published 9 months Ago

The Power Triangle

As athletes train for speed, the hip and leg are working. Now a closer look at the leg and foot, which also must work in harmony. Starting at the ground coming up, the foot must dorsiflex (toe up).

A very common error is to leave the toe pointing down during the recovery phase of the stride and never pulling the toe up before foot strike. That causes a loss of speed. You can use an easy skip in the warm-up to demonstrate this to the athlete. The toe has to naturally come up prior to foot contact.


Pulling the toe up allows a good front half of the foot strike. I never use the phrase “run on your toes”, even though it does push most people to the front of the foot. I have seen enough, too many, try to get up on their toes. It then looks like they are not dorsiflexing at all.

We then might ask, “does the heel control the height of the knee, or does the knee direct the path of the heel?” Both can be true depending on where the focus is.

Focussing on knee lift to get the heel up is commonly used as the solution,  but it can hang below the thigh and lack a recovery path. The best solution is to focus on tearing the foot off the ground. 

 As the knee is lifted the heel must recover close to the butt, this raises the knee to an optimal height and closes the power triangle. All of this will result in a faster turnover and more speed.  

Coaching Que: Use a series of short training runs emphasizing different aspects of the leg cycle. Tell the athletes to run 30 yards at 75% speed using their normal technique (2 times). The next trips, have them think about tearing their foot away from the ground like striking a match.

In the 3rd round, tell them to pull their knee through as quickly as possible, to be ready to strike the ground and pull the other knee through quickly.

On the last series, have them try and extend the hip as quickly as possible to the ground and contact the ground high on the foot with as long a leg as possible. It may help to say to push the knee down quickly.

Finally, go back to the beginning and have them run as they would on their own and use some cues; lift, push, kick, drive, circle as examples.

30 yards at 75%

2x - Normal Technique

2x - Tear foot off the ground (light a match)

2x - Pull heal through as fast as possible.

2x - Run tall, light touches

2x - Run normal (new normal)


Leave a Comment:

You need to log in or sign up to comment.

Recent Posts

Coach King on the Brawn Body Health & Fitness Podcast

Coach Bob King sat down and Dan Braun on the Brawn Body Health & Fitness Podcast to discuss speed training and how it isn't taught as much as you'd think in the sports science world. You'll learn some simple approaches that have helped Coach King reach success at multiple pro level sports.

Program Design for Athletic Development

Coach Bob King breaks down program design and how goal setting can set you up for success.

Medicine Ball As a Speed Training Tool

Speed Training gadgets are training tools that help athletes practice techniques that strengthen speed development. These tools can be serious training devices that improve the effects and excitement of normal speed training. Gadgets can be medicine balls, cables or good old-fashioned hills.

Mini hurdles for speed training

The mini hurdles are a great tool for first-step acceleration and can be scaled to fit your level of training.

Recommended Playbooks

Year Round Youth Speed
Speed Intro
Year Round Any Weights
Intro to Strength
Summer Elite Speed
Summer Speed Training
Off-Season Any Speed
40 Yard Dash Challenge