Any running race at full speed over a short distance is referred to as a ‘sprinting event’. Championship sprints include races over 70m, 100m and 200m distances. The 400m is also traditionally considered a sprinting event, however for young athletes this may be more appropriately classed as a middle distance event. All sprinting events are run in lanes!
Middle distance events generally consist of the 800m and 1500m events. Middle distance by nature requires more endurance than sprinting events and therefore requires a more economical running action Middle distance events are not run in lanes.
Hurdles are considered a sprint race that includes obstacles that must be cleared. Little Athletics hurdles are designed to easily collapse when knocked, provided that they are approached from the correct direction. Knocking the hurdles over unintentionally does NOT result in disqualification. However, hurdles must not be purposefully pushed over by hands or feet. Hurdles must be set at the specified height and distance pertaining to each age group.
The Relay is a team event in which the aim is to carry the baton over the determined distance as quickly as possible. Relay teams usually consist of four runners. There are several types of relays that are suitable for use at Little Athletics, including shuttle relays (up and back) and circular relays (around the track). Types of Relays are limited only by the imagination.
Racewalking is an event that is conducted exactly as the name suggests – fast walking. Racewalking requires unbroken contact with the ground. That is, one foot must be touching the ground at all times. When the leading or advancing leg makes contact with the ground, the leg must be straightened until it is under the body. Competition distances are 700m, 1100m and 1500m depending on age.
Shot Put is a simple pushing event involving the use of a round steel ball. The aim of the event is to obtain the greatest possible distance while performing within the accepted rules of the event. These include:-
the shot must initially be held close to or touching the neck near the shoulder and in close proximity to the chin. The hand cannot drop below this position during the pushing action.
the shot must fall completely within the inner edges of the landing sector.
the athlete must exit from the back half of the circle.
Shots used in Little Athletics range in weight from 1kg to 4kg, depending upon age groups.
Discus is one of the oldest athletic events, being part of the pentathlon during the ancient Olympics. The discus is thrown using a slinging action from within a circle and must land wholly within the marked landing sector. All discus throws must be made from an enclosure or cage to ensure the safety of spectators, officials and competitors. For an effective result, on release, the discus should preferably spin over the index finger, rather than be let out of the back of the hand. The athlete must leave via the back half of the circle. Discus used in Little Athletics range from 350g to 1kg, depending upon age groups.
Javelin is a throwing event. The javelin itself is a spear-shaped object with a metal point. Competitors aim to throw it as far as possible so that the point strikes the ground before any other part of the javelin. The javelin is not required to stick in the ground for a throw to be valid. It is very important to follow safety rules when competing in or practising javelin throwing. Some Centres use a ‘turbojav’ or plastic javelin before progressing to the real thing.
The main aim of high jump is to clear the cross bar without making if fall off its two supporting uprights. After each successful attempt, the crossbar is raised. Athletes are allowed three attempts to clear the next height/round. Failure to successfully clear the bar within three consecutive jumps leads to elimination from the competition. There are two main methods used at Little Athletics to clear the bar – Fosbury Flop and scissors.
All athletes should begin learning the high jump by using the scissors method. As the athlete becomes older and more competent the ‘flop’ technique can be introduced. Only proper high jumps mats should be used with mat covers to ensure that the landing area is safe and secure. Finally, all athletes should be taught to clear the bar in a way that ensures they land in the centre of the landing area.