Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
It's always a highlight of the indoor season for the athletes I coach. Why? Because the Surrey's are held at the venue they train mostly at. (The David Weir Centre in Sutton). The championships are combined with those of Sussex. But despite this fields were woefully low in some events (male sprint hurdles, triple jump and long jump for seniors). It's disappointing but that's another story...
What wasn't were most of the performances from the group. The highlight of which was Pippa Earley's victory in the u17 60m hurdles. Her time of 8.41 was the fastest ever recorded in the UK and 8 tenths better than the existing record. This performance was all the more startling as it was her first race. Pippa had also picked up second in the long jump earlier on the first day of the championships with a jump of 5.67m - 20cm behind her PB. Pippa experienced difficulties converting her speed into distance off of the board - a problem that she didn't have in the hurdles where she timed her hurdle clearances to perfection.
Jonathan Ilori won the triple with a season's best of 15.44m, and showed promise that a longer jump is possible. He's not transferring optimally from the step - although his confidence is allowing him to run in quicker and achieve a bigger hop. Sarah Abrahams won the senior women's long jump with 5.71 and was unlucky not to have a longer jump but for no jumps. This was a good performance given that Sarah has missed most of the last 4-5 years out of the sport. She had a previous best as an u20 of 5.98, I'm sure she'll jump over 6 this summer.
Of the athletes I coach through Momentum, Alex Meaklim performed extraordinarily well in the u20 long jump where he set six personal bests, culminating with a 6.72m jump. Seven metres looks a distinct possibility. Not surprisingly he was a little down in the triple the next day.
So apart from Pippa , I believe, a very short indoor season is over and it'll soon be time for the Surrey outdoor champs in May.
John and athlete Sarah explain and demonstrate some of the benefits of the hitch-kick over the sail. Note Sarah is transitioning to the hitch to see if it will improve her distances.
All mid-air actions (hitch-kick, hang, sail, stride-jump) cannot power you through the air, rather they are designed to combat rotation and enable an optimised landing. There are numerous variations between how athletes perform 'their' mid-air actions although there are some fundamental points. Hopefully this video will explain those when it comes to jumpers wanting to learn the hitch-kick or trial it.
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I produced a video on this topic on my youtube channel which has had a number of queries (please see video below). Here's an answer to a difficult question on how to prepare 7-10 days out from a comp. Please note these are my views and are based on my experiences - other coaches and athletes views may differ. That's why coaching is both an art and a science!
Daniel, thanks for the comments on the channel. Your question is not an easy one to answer as there are so many influencing factors. By championship meeting are you referring to a major meeting and the indoor season? (I'll assume that you are). Firstly, it's important that you train through the indoor season i.e. enabling you to have sufficient gas in the tank for the outdoor season (you can have an easy transition week or 10 days at the end of the indoors). However, competition as I (and you) pointed out drains and taxes in particular the neural system, so you need to decide on the key comps and prepare to be at your best mentally for these. To ease strain on the neural system some of your pre-lim meets should be viewed as training comps and as stepping stones on the way to the bigger meets (this is particularly the case where you face multiple comps in a short period as is often the US collegiate athlete's situation). You may also decide to jump off a slightly shorter run-up, focus on an aspect of technique and/or take a limited number of jumps. This will reduce nervous (and physical energy drain). For the major comps "they need to be important to you in your mind". These are the ones that you will focus on to do well at in particular. By placing a specific value on them from a time-point back (perhaps at the beginning of the training year) you will be "up" for these comps when they come around. Your mental prep can lift performance, let alone specific physical preparation. It's something that I believe athletes don't work on enough. I try to get my group to do this (with varying degrees of success). "Believing" you will do really well in certain comps, will give you every chance that you will. (you can do a lot of pre-comp training in your mind!). As will trusting your training. Okay, the physical side... this will depend on your loading levels and what you are used to. I'll have to focus from my specific experience with those I'm working with and hope this will inform what you require. The key period is 5 plus days out (back) from the major comp, this is when you can work to very high intensities with relatively high volumes - so multiple sprints and run-ups and longer approach jumps - but with rest and recovery days between. With the triple jumpers, they will regularly work off their full run-ups, for example, 9 x out of 10 making a significant hop from the board. Weights will be performed but with reduced volume on key lifts in the two-three weeks prior to the important comp. (Note: some jumpers will lift much closer to comps due to the potentiating benefit - this needs to be experimented with in training i.e. some will lift the day before a comp (only a key lift and near to maximum, few reps with good recovery). Five-six out days out loadings are dialled right back, but what is done needs to be at max velocity. So three days from a comp we will do a quick warm-up that readies the jumper for speed. Then do flying 20m sprints (2-3) with the emphasis being on turn over and "attacking the take-off". We will then do 2-4 run-ups, making the hop as indicated. These need to be full on. We won't do full jumps nor longer approach run jumps so close to comps (this should have been taken care of in prior training and crucially build-up comps). Two days before a comp the athlete may do a light warm-up with low intensity drills. I ask them to visualise the comp and the venue and see themselves performing well. This will depend on their work situation - college athletes will have more time and will do this session. The day before the comp depending on travel, it's often good to loosen up too. Incorporating some fast feet drills can fire up the system for the next day (bit like the weights that some jumpers do). I wouldn't recommend nothing major. You're trying to ready fast-twitch fibre but not tire it. You've got to learn what works for you too and inform your coach too. This experience is something that will develop over time. I hope this has helped you... it's not an easy subject to deal with. There's new thoughts on compensation and adaptation from training to complicate matters and also the possibilities of potentiation (as mentioned when it comes to comp this needs to be trialled in training). Good luck!