Tony Lett, Head Coach, Trishton, Coast Road,

Porthtowan, Cornwall TR4 8AQ Tel 01209 891101




Last month I mentioned the ‘step up’ exercise shown at the European Speed Conference, but without pictures, so today you have them both. It is excellent for the calf, strengthening the

Achilles tendon, quadriceps and CNS. I used an ex member of CAC of some 15 years, to do the demonstration.



The step up can be done with a barbell as shown, or with dumbbells.

Develop this exercise in stages until it becomes a smooth movement, stepping up and raising the knee while at the same time coming up onto the forefoot (toes!). Make sure the back is straight and the foot and legs in good alignment so that loading through the knee is correct.

Remember, it is the final raise onto the forefoot that is the most important part of the exercise as it strengthens and thickens the Achilles tendon that stores the energy from the prolonged calf action.

Once it is done confidently it can be done quickly.



The parent of two girl squash players aged 11 and 12, was telling me their new coach had told them to get in some quick reaction drills, without being specific. He asked for my advice, so here is my reply, with exercises that can also be used by older athletes.


The ability to achieve quick movements calls upon the development of tendons and muscles to respond to the demand with the minimum risk of injury, which is much easier to achieve post puberty than during puberty when the body is incline to grow much quicker than muscle and bone can regenerate. Hence muscles tire and bones are susceptible to stress fractures such as Osgood Schlatter in the upper tibia, therefore low impact exercises to improve bone density are desirable but high impact exercises at this age are not.

Pre puberty exercises involving twist and turns are not necessary during puberty as these will be covered sufficiently in the game. Too many will put undue strain on underdeveloped joints and tendons such as the ankles, patella, ACL, that could have long lasting consequences.

GOOD EXERCISES should be observed for good alignment of limbs and feet

1.    Hop on both feet and hold for a count of two for 10-12 hops

2.    Try the same laterally

3.    Hop and hold forwards on one leg, then the other

4.    Do these laterally

5.    Repeat any of the above up the stairs

6.    Reaction hops. Start with low hops on one leg, gradually moving forwards, and the other leg held reasonably high. Then between hops the free leg comes down and taps the ground and up again all during the space of one hop. Progress to getting faster while maintaining a relatively high tapping leg. Do both legs.

7.    Squat to touch the floor keeping the chin, knee, toes in as best alignment as possible to keep a straight back, then leap into the air extending arms above the head and legs straight (Rocket Jump)

8.    Outdoors. Squat to hold a ball between the legs with both hands, the leap up and throw the ball as high up as possible

9.    As for 7 but tossing the ball overhead

10.  Similar to 7 but bunny hop forward two or three times before tossing the ball

11.  In or out. Bunny hop forward 10 times without stopping between each hop, going for distance.

12.  As above but going for speed (the distance will naturally be less)

13.  Squat jumps forwards or laterally while remaining in the squat position (not so easy)

14.  Skipping 25 x fwd/25x bkd

15.  Skipping bum kicks. Ie kicking your bum while skipping

16.  As for 14 but bringing the knees to the chest

17.  Single leg skipping bum kicks with the leg you are skipping on

18.  Speed skipping. How many in 10, 15, 20 seconds?



The Athletics Network have some bursary funding available up to the end of March for attending courses. Those interested should contact the DAN chairman, Andy Moore

·         Coaching Assistant Course expected 24/25th Jan at Taunton

·         Officials courses are available from age 16. One coming up at Carn Brea soon. Check with Ben


·         County Disability Athletics is to be centred around Carn Brea

·         After the success of 2014, DAN track events for next year have been provisionally fixed for 28th May county champ 10km at CB; 23rd June County champ 5km at Par; 30th July CB Relays, 25th August Mixed Medley at Par

·         The county will soon have its own Powerpoint, screen and projector

·         There is a serious enquiry looking into electronic timing

·         Sportshall Athletic Championships on 20th April

·         School Games are scheduled for Friday June 26th (coaches and team managers should consider this if there is a clubs competition the following day)

·         Opportunities on Sportavaite for 14-25 year olds are on the CSP website

·         The AGM of the County Athletic Association went ahead as planned, although very lightly supported, so at least we remain a recognised organisation within England Athletics