Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Track and Field

Track and Field Events

Track and field events can be divided into running events, throwing events and jumping events. During a meet, athletes will likely compete in several events in the same category. For example, a sprinter may run a 100-meter (328 feet) race, a 200-meter (656 feet) race and a 4x100-meter (13x328 feet) relay.

Running events can be either sprints or long-distance runs. Sprints consist of 100-meter (328 feet), 200-meter (656 feet) and 400-meter (1,312 feet) races. Youth also may run 4x100-meter (13x328 feet), 4x200-meter (13x656 feet) or 4x400-meter (13x1,312 feet) relays, where four people each run the given distance. Hurdling events are typically shorter sprinting distances between 55 and 400 meters (180 to 1,312 feet) [source: Complete Track and Field].

The half-mile (800-meter) run and mile (1,600-meter) run, as well as the 4x800-meter (13x2,624 feet) relay, are long-distance events. Some high school athletes will also run a 2-mile (3,200 meter) race. Distances on an indoor track may be slightly altered.

The discus, shot put, javelin and hammer are the throwing events. Discus and shot put are the more common throwing events for youth -- many youth competitions don't offer javelin and hammer competitions [source: Track Field Events].

Jumping events include the long jump, triple jump and high jump. Pole vault is another jumping event, but it's uncommon at the youth level [source: Track Field Events].

Each throwing or jumping event requires its own special technique. Technique also varies slightly among sprints, distance races and relays. For information on how to cater technique to different events, read the next page about teaching basic track and field skills.