Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
When children look awkward when they run, they usually have an imbalance in their muscles, or muscle or nerve damage. Your center of gravity is the spot in your body with equal weight in front and in back. Every motion you make is aimed at keeping your body balanced around your center of gravity. When you move one part of your body forward, you must move another backward to keep you from falling. When you move your left leg forward, you must move your right arm forward and your left arm backward. When you move your right leg forward, you automatically move your left arm forward and your right arm backward. People who don't do this look funny when they run. You can't talk a person into efficient running form and you cannot think yourself into good running form,. You have to run faster in practice.
It is usually of little value for a coach to tell an awkward child to change his form. The child should first be evaluated by a physician for conditions that affect nerves and muscles. If none is found, the coach should have the child repeat the motion over and over until the brain can coordinate the body's motions about his center of gravity. To correct poor running form, a person must go out and run every day and when he is in good shape, he should start running short interval sprints as fast as he can. A typical twice-a-week workout may be to run 15 100-yard sprints almost flat out, with a short rest between each run.