Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
On my youtube channel, I've been getting a number of questions asked on various aspects of mainly jumps training, here are a couple of the questions and there answers. For more informations and to watch the videos please head over to my channel. These questions relate to the bounding video (which you can watch under the answers). Please do continue to send in your questions and I will try - time permitting - to answer what I can.
1. Also, I was wondering if it is okay to bound/hop on a hard surface everyday. Will it have any effects on my joints and knees in the long run?
It's best to bound on the track as then the forces and return of forces will be close to competitive situations. If you are well-conditioned and training mature then you should be okay. If you're at the beginning of your track journey then you need to build up, perhaps with fewer contacts (bounds) and reps. Most of my group are currently wearing trainers but we will switch to spikes pretty soon for bounding too - like the 20m ones shown in the vid. You need to do what's known as prehab work to strengthen your body for the impacts and this must be continued throughout your training. So single leg squats, core exercises, balance work, lateral movements and so on. (See video https://youtu.be/xpuWjtRFX3o)
2. Thank you as always, would you recommend a run-up shorter than 10 metres for the 20m bound drill?
I'd increase the run up distance (so 10-20m) and decrease the distance bounded down to 15 (3 contacts) over a number of weeks (4-6). This develops greater speed and transference.... we will be doing this and this session once a week.
Funny that people think if you coach the long jump you must be able to coach the triple. Well, it's not the same is it? One requires a maximal jump, the other three, sub optimal efforts. Each phase has its specific requirements and then the whole affair must be connected and effort optimally distributed. Long jump was my event and therefore the one which I have the most affinity with.
And so to the hop. A much shallower angle of take-off is required compared to the long jump circa 16-degrees (vs (20-22 for the long). This is needed to maintain speed through the phases. This I know, but when it comes to arm action, hopping leg action and free leg action and posture I know much less. So I set about learning up... I read some excellent articles on the Jumpers Brain facebook site and also some from my coaching book collection (Track & Field Coaching in the GDR still has a strong voice) and archived material. As usual it's not so much a case of the more you read the more you know, but more of a case of the more your read, the less you realise you know. It's also concerning when established athletes are not sure themselves of what's required and have been coached to varying standards by people in their careers. In my group some technical issues were becoming apparent and these seem to have been around for quite some time...
So I thought I'd better do something about this and set-out to up my game, I produced a video on the hop (see below). I find that this forces me to look, and to do, and to action. Unlike with the long jump, and most S&C, where I'm more confident, I wasn't fully sure whether my thoughts wold stand up to scrutiny. I've asked for feedback and have had mostly positive. Coaches don't know it all, and not too many will spend hours trying to go that little bit extra to truly understand and face criticism if they go wrong. Can't win can you!
Coaching is as much an art as it is a science and on reading some technical articles on the TJ too much science can get in the way with over analysis... jumpers are idiosyncratic - they're not all Christian Taylor clones. One size does not fit all...
Uh, umm, excuse me, doesn't your video feature Christian?
Well, yes it does!
I used the maestro to compare and contrast and extract. It put into perspective what I was looking at and trying to learn. Hopefully, the comments and thoughts in the video will be of use to other coaches and athletes and will inspire others to have a real close look at what they do, and what might be needed to improve. They may inspire some to criticise my thoughts. Now, as long as you explain why, then it's all part of the learning process for us all.
Pippa Earley managed a new national u17 age-group pentathlon record in Sheffield yesterday (March 11th 17). This added to her previous 60m hurdles record she'd set early in the year.
See how the day unfolded in the video.
Improving Long Jump Take-off
When I was jumping when TV was black and white and run-ups were cinder (okay, it wasn't that long a go, but it was a while back), one of my very first coaches said that I should push my foreleg away from me just after take-off before swinging the leg back down into the first part of the hitch-kick. Unfortunately I didn't take this on board. In hindsight I wonder as a young athlete had I worked on this whether I would have jumped further. I did have a technique with a very quick take-off, but was often unable to hold onto that positive - the result being forward rotation and a potential loss of distance.
As a coach I'm always learning and I've noticed that the better technicians in the group when it comes to either the hitch and the hang do tend to delay the movement into their specific mid-air action with this extension of the foreleg before sweeping it down into the hang or hitch. I've been emphasising this recently in training. And also recently I have pulled together a video on this technical aspect. Take a look!