Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
Those of you that follow my youtube channel will know that I have started to answer in video format questions that come into me through it and also through this website and my Instagram page. Obviously if numbers of questions begin to increase much more I will not be able to answer them all simply due to time issues.
I may consider charging a fee for those who would like certain types of questions answered, which I hope people don't consider unreasonable. I have, for example, been asked to write out a weight training programme for a specific athlete, accounting for their specific needs... that is no 5-minute task.
Where possible I'll do what I can with the answers I provide in video format - although these also take a while, at least they reach more people and may be generally more beneficial to jump athletes and coaches.
Please bear in mind that if I don't reply to a question you send in straight away (or even not at all), it's not personal (!), it's due to a lack of time.
I uploaded August's "Coaching Clinic" (Q&A) video a couple of days back, and it focusses on: the transition form the hang to the hitch-kick and also how to get length and fluidity into the triple jump hop. I've put the video in the link below which has my answers.
And, as I seem to end up saying at the end of these videos (!):
Good luck with your training and competition and do subscribe to the channel
(It's nearly up to 3000 - so thanks to all of you who have subscribed, shared and commented!)
I have been pulling together an article on what constitutes a successful transition from junior to senior as part of an assignment for Athletics Weekly. Here's a part of it that will provoke some debate and thought (I hope!). The rest of the article has research from international athlete and researcher Karla Drew (who looked at the specific stats pertaining to the transition between junior and senior GB athletes) and the IAAF who survey athletes from the first world youth champs (to see how they fared over the next 5-6 years)
I have coached a European junior champion - Elliot Safo long jump 2013. Safo, was also a finalist in the Barcelona World Juniors. The jumper along with other athletes from my group have attended World School Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games and European Youth Olympics. I say this not to brag in anyway but to highlight that for me managing the transition from promising young athlete to senior level as a coach has well and truly been experienced/is being experienced.
I think that the sport (and parents/coaches/fellow athletes) can place too much emphasis on junior success. As a coach I’m not too bothered by junior (and below) levels of success. I try to continually stress to the younger members of my group, that it’s not the u18, u20 “medal haul” that really matters, but the senior years’ one (although what you do in those transition years will of course have an effect).
The problem is that you can’t hold an athlete back in terms of the development of their talent – if they jump 7.70m at 17 (as one of my athletes did) then they’ve done it. It’s what subsequently happens that counts and in some case these great early athletic achievers can create something of an albatross around their necks. The performance becomes one they have to catch-up to and can’t readily easily replicate soon after (yet often “expect” to). In such instances that guidance that Karla Drew talks about is needed and coaches, in particular, must be able to handle the situation.
There is so much for a young athlete to deal with when transitioning from junior to senior. At 18-20 an athlete has to make some important decisions – they have to go into the world or work or study and try to fit in their training around this (unless their parents or any sponsors will support their training or they perhaps work part-time to support their training). Governing body funding to enable this is relatively minimal.
There are few athletics academies to my knowledge that could guide and help young athletes for a number of years like there is in football and rugby. Instead, it’s a choice of work or college or a self-funded athlete life (with no guarantees). It’s for these reasons that many UK athletes look to go to the US on scholarships. They are – dependent on the college attended - given kit, have their tuition paid, living expenses provided, food provided, physio, access to doctors and so on. It makes it quite easy to see why more and more UK athletes are going to the US or are at least seriously considering it.
Many would argue that the sport of athletics tends to be a bit of a lucky-dip contest – at least for the under 20 age group. Transition depends on what’s around that athlete and how they are guided; where they live; who coaches them; what injuries they sustain (a subject in its own right), and what the sport’s governing body can, and is able, and wants to do for them.
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Over the last month or so my training group has had an additional member - Abdulrahman Sayeed who journeyed all the way from Cairo to train in sunny south London.
And sunny it was indeed, Abdulraham commented that our heat wave felt hotter than Cairo! In fact on one or two occasions we had to train indoors due to the heat!
Abdulrahman is an under 23 jumper with a best of 6.80m. He had "found me" through social media and had the wherewithal to organise himself and finance himself for a month in the UK.
I'd initially met him virtually, by way of my youtube channel and he'd sent me a video to take a look at of him jumping. It was then slightly surreal to see the person in person and actually jumping (running, doing weights etc) right in front of me. I guess it shows the power of social media and the virtual and then real ways in which people can connect through track & field.
I'd spotted many of the technical areas that Abdulrahman needed to work on in the video (and you can see more in the youtube video I've made on his time with us below) but there are other factors that you can't determine from a couple of clips of Abdulrahman - or any other jumper/athlete - in action.
What do I mean? Well, perhaps the most important area of work that I quickly saw needing attention was his reactivity. Abdulrahman was very strong concentrically but not eccentrically, nor reactively (i.e. plyometrically). He was a "heavy weights" type of athlete, who did very little plyometric and eccentric training. Pennies began to drop and it suddenly made sense why he could jump relatively further off of short approaches compared to longer ones. Basically he did not have the ability to take off at speed as his training was somewhat steered in a slower, more concentric muscular action direction, Now, the changes that he will need to make in this area will take time, and during his time with me in London, I gave him various sessions and ideas as to what to do on his return to Egypt and thereafter.
In the video you'll see some of the more technical issues that we worked on with Abdulrahman and his jumping and running. I plan to make a second video where I follow up on the change of conditioning regime needed.
The information presented in this post and in the video will be of relevance to all jumpers looking to improve and it highlights the crucial role that the "right" conditioning will have. You may have great technique but if you are unable to use if off of a full run-up at speed then you've obviously got a problem,
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This week's Athletics Weekly will carry an article of mine on organising your own - in this case - triple jump meeting.
We decided to run the meeting due to the fact there were no further competitive opportunities before the deadline for European selection for Britain's top jumpers. Jonathan Ilori, for example, in my training group had come in third in the British Trials at June end and along with a couple of other jumpers could have been considered for the Euro team had they jumped the required 16.60m by the deadline.
Our "DIY" meeting managed to attract two other of the top 5 jumpers in the UK and we had a further 4 good standard athletes take part.
The process for putting on a meeting is described in AW - and I think it's well worth other coaches across other events thinking about putting on their own focused event meeting in future.
We are talking about doing this next year and trying to be a little innovative and creative as well. I know other coaches who run such events, such as pole-vault coach Allan Williams. Allan will be running a competition at David Weir Centre, Sutton for his event soon. If you're a local vaulter and want to get in an end of season comp then contact Allan at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any ideas for improving the field event opportunities then why not leave a comment. And look out for some more triple and long jump competitive ideas/opps on this blog.
And you take a look at what happened at our comp here: