You definately need to progress to the final objective. These are the progressions we follow.
Beginner: A march - A skip no arms - A skip w/ arms. B march - B march no arms - B march w/ arms. Once you get those down, move into ankling through 8 mini hurdles. Outside leg is straight and paws at the ground while working on quick knee drive over the hurdles. Use your arms. Elbows and 90deg. and hand past the hip.
One thing that helps get the paw effect of the B skip is a stilt run. Running with your legs straight and pulling the ground. Then I go into a high knee run and work on the "cycle" and turnover of the legs. put the stilt run and high knee run together. here is the rep scheme I use.
Askip no arms 2x10yd
A skip 2-4x10yd
Stilt run 2-4x10yds
B progressions (same reps as A)
High knee run 2x10yds
Stilt run into high knee run 2x10+10yds
Falling starts 4x30-40yds
this is all I will do for the first linear running workouts. Once you get effecient you will not need to do all the progressions obviously, Then the running volume can increase. Remember, quality is more important than quantity.
4 bags, 2feet apart. Skip laterally through the bags w/ correct arms (like you are running. this will make you more effiecient on transisitoning from lateral to linear running)
once the skips are down, move the bags 3 feet apart. stay low and push on back side leg. don't reach with front leg because this will end up with your hips in the middle and a pulled groin on your back leg. The purpose of the skips are to concentrate on pushing off the backside leg.
Once the skips are down, run laterally through the bags. when this is good to go, transition back and forth through the bags. Now try and go back and forth, then cut out out straight ahead. you should be going straight out at 90deg and not bannanaing it.
Before actually running out, i have the athletes take just one step to ensure foot placement and hips are low. we work the one step forward, coming back to the inside, and a reverse step back. you can also do multi direction stuff with that. once those are solid, run out 5 yds. Remember the arm exchange should be smooth and no false steps.
Have someone stand behind you and push you so you fall into a lunge position with your arms correct and chest tall. do 5 sets each side. drop your hips. Then have someone push you forward into the lunge position and rev step out of it and run out. make sure they move. So... if your right foot is coming forward, throw your left arm back and take your recovery step with you left leg, opening to the left. Crossover with your right leg and you should be running directly the opposite direction you were pushed from. Make sense... confusing to write down. Basically, if your right leg is forward, open to you left and vice versa.
the biggest things that kids aren't prepared for is hamstrings once they get into sports. doing deceleration work, which can be done laterally to (have someone push you from the side and drop into a lateral lunge, great for hips) will help with hamstring management by getting your ass down so you can use your glutes and hammy's to stop you.
Don't just do drills to do them. I made that mistake in college. Take the time to do them correctly and then go balls out once the form is there.
Any more Q's or clarifications just ask. Thanks, G