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New camp showcases the need for speed

Evans clan begins first year of speed and agility camp at CV High.

August 04, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

LA CRESCENTA — As the old saying goes, you can't teach speed.

Mark Evans would humbly beg to differ.

The veteran Crescenta Valley High cross-country and track and field coach and his son, Chris, who coaches varsity cross-country track at Golden Valley, are currently showing a group of youth athletes that through learning and perfecting proper technique and maximizing their economy of movement, one can indeed become faster in ways that can be applied toward success in not only running, but virtually any other sport.

"In every sport, speed is a major component, but in a lot of sports they don't necessarily practice just speed, so that's what we're working on here," Chris Evans said during a break at the first La Crescenta Speed and Agility Camp at Crescenta Valley High on Tuesday. "The biggest thing is technique, getting them to be coordinated and getting them to have their body in the proper alignment so that then they can go faster."

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When the camp began on Monday, each of the attendants, who range in age from 9-12, performed such timed skills as a 40-yard dash, a standing long jump, throwing a medicine ball and running an obstacle course. In the final session of the camp on Thursday, they will do it all again and have their progress measured.

In the interim, they will learn the proper arm, leg and head positioning for running effectively through drills, tutorials and demonstrations provided by some of Mark Evans' top high school runners, then apply through repetition those new skills in games, relay races and other activities throughout the week.

"We just started kind of where they are [with] some simple running drills and moving drills," Mark Evans said. "We've got to work some coordination things in and some strength because a lot of them they're young and they need to develop strength and flexibility. All of that goes into running mechanics and running form."

Perhaps one of the most helpful aspects of the camp is the video sessions, which not only provide the campers with a chance to escape the heat in an air-conditioned classroom for a few minutes, but also illustrate exactly what they're doing right and wrong on the track.

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