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Research is not that substantive when it comes to young athletes and injury rates. Some from Sweden indicates that 60% of young elite athletes sustain an injury of sufficient magnitude to require training to be modified across the season.
A fews back year when I attended the European Jumps and Sprints Symposium in Sweden, renowned US coach Dan Pfaff said: “All athletes are injured from birth.” What he meant is that childhood accidents (small or large) can affect athletic development thereafter. To this I would add that play and the development of physical literacy is equally important as soon as a child learns how to crawl, walk and run.
Play becomes crucial in terms of developing balance and body awareness, for example. These are vital attributes for latter life sporting ability. Our teenagers nowadays are potentially less physically skilled than previous generations. Sedentary lifestyles and the rise of the "health and safety culture" have all been determinant factors. If you can’t move well then injury is more likely.
Young athletes’ growth and maturation
Coaches will be aware of growth spurts and maturation rates among the young athletes they coach. We will have had young athletes who suddenly grow a lot in a relatively short time span (or suddenly spurt a beard!) and this can lead to difficulties. Coordination may become one of these as the young athlete struggles to perform movements they previously may have had no problems with months before.
The skeleton of a growing young person does not develop uniformly – the largest increases tend to begin from the bottom up. Thus, a developing young athlete’s skeleton can be out of synch as it were – and because of this coordination can become difficult for a while and injury risk potentially magnified at certain sites.
It’s often during adolescence and these growth spurts when athlete, coach and parent can push for more training. This is potentially counter-productive injurious and could lead to increased frustration on the part of the athlete. All involved need to nurture very carefully the athlete at this time and probably the best strategy is to dial back training and “wait” for the growth spurt to end or at least slow.
To determine growth spurts coaches can simply measure athletes of appropriate age (with parental/guardian) permission every couple of months. Growth spurts generally occur between 8-10 in girls and 10-12 in boys. However, my experience indicates later periods of significant growth well into the teens.
And then there’s maturation which is another form of growth which in my experience is the more significant one and with it hormonal change and the development of, for example, in males in particular and for example, significant muscle mass.
Again, experience tells me that some young boys circa 14-17 can develop muscle that outstrips their skeletal frame to a point where there’s increased injury risk. Adolescent boys can also think they are "invincible" - and with the cocktail of hormones floating around their bodies they can recover from injury quickly on the positive side or try to run through them (without telling coach) on the negative.
When as athlete is going through a period of Peak Height Velocity (see below) then the tensile forces placed on the joints can be potentially injurious. If as a coach you have a “more developed” athlete (usually males but also potentially female, for their age), then care needs to be paramount in terms of training prescription. The athlete may “look” strong but may actually be weaker than their appearance. Very interestingly maturation (see below also) is not uniform even within an individual young athlete – it varies between tissue and organ systems. And as has been pointed out the development of the skeletal system is not uniform either. Some bones may be “weaker” than others at different times of development as an example.
Hopefully this mix of personal experience and sports science will help fellow coaches understand a little better about what happens in those crucial periods of young athlete physical and athletic development.
Young athlete physical development and useful information
Peak Height Velocity refers to the period of maximum growth. It happens in boys from 13-14 and girls from 11-12. This can amount to an increase in height of 7-9cm for girls and 8-10cm in boys per year.
Peak Weight Velocity refers to weight gain. This according to research lags behind PHV by 0.3-0.9 years in girls and 0.2-0.4 years in boys. The gains can be as much as 6-10kg per year.
Maturity Status refers to the timing of maturation – that’s to say it’s within the transition from child to adult. Secondary sex characteristics and skeletal growth are the two key identifying factors.
Chronological age and maturation stage do not display synergy.
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We continue to look at the type of training I recommend for this time of the training year
I recently had a short break in the Lake District of the north of England. It was a time to recharge the batteries and I didn’t see a track for 8 days! Well, I saw train tracks as you can see in the photo. (This was for a very scenic journey from Settle to Carlisle in case anyone’s interests😂). Taking time off is crucial at the end of the season for athletes and coaches - we all need to recharge.
Some of my athletes are coming back to training after a couple of weeks off whilst mainly the older ones won’t be starting back until October. I’ve actually one more competition to go to - this weekend is the English Schools Multi-Events. Two athletes will be competing. However, I’ll still be taking it a bit easier for a couple of weeks after this comp.
I want the athletes to be ready for fall training … they need therefore to keep themselves in shape during the off-season. I ask them to do a drills and a fast-ish running session a week to keep things in place. They can also play tennis, basketball etc. The main thing is that they get away from track for a bit but still keep in shape.
I don’t want to “waste” time with general fitness when we return to winter training. Nor really should you if you’re on a break - so much will have been gained over the last 10 months of training and competing that you want to start back close to that stepping off point.
On my YouTube channel I’ve started to post a series of videos on early season training and what you can include. You'll see the first in the series below.
In this video I answer three questions which have come in from my Instagram account - https://instagram.com/johnshepherdwritertrackcoach? The Q&As are all about jumping. Two are on the long jump and both query the run-up, specifically how to get a good start phase and how long the last step should be? Whilst the other question from a 17 year-old Stateside jumper is all about the triple jump and what you can do to extend your phases, get the range and not rush through the contacts.
Hopefully my answers will help you solve these problems if you have them or will serve as very useful knowledge which will help your understanding of the events.
Do let me know what you think and ask any questions if you have them. Also do sign up to my Instagram if you want! You’ll find similar but shorter form content to the YouTube channel there and a little more “social” content.
Recently, I have been doing a number of presentations on the long jump. I’ve done three for Ireland Athletics, one for Belgian Athletics and another two for England. No pressure then!
Well, at least I’m talking about and showing videos on something that I am passionate about. It is almost one of those scenarios where a hobby has morphed into a job of sorts.
Fifteen years on from when I seriously started coaching in south-west London my experiences as a coach have moved on significantly. And in a number of ways I’d not have thought would have happened.
One thing that has become apparent as my coaching career developed was how much I thought I knew and then realised I didn’t.
I was a near 26-foot long jumper in my prime … so, not unnaturally I thought I knew quite a bit. However, now, I look back and can see how much I didn’t. I’m still learning now. It really is a case of the more you think you know the more you realise you don’t know.
I’ve always possessed an enquiring mind and I like to try to find answers and do research. However, coaching the long jump is both science and art and many of the “answers” don’t actually exist in textbooks or out there on the web. You have to find your own answers and develop your own solutions. And this must be packaged within a coaching philosophy (“Your way of doing and implementing”).
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I talk about the latter on my YouTube channel in the members’ area and look, for example, at training planning methods and how once you follow your preferred model you still need to put your philosophy onto it.
When taking the presentations I mentioned at the start, I stress that a coach needs to develop their way of doing – yes, this must be based on science but it must also be based on knowing what works from your own coaching experience.
And, you have to be quite dogmatic in sticking to its key tenants (as long of course as your philosophy works!). You can’t be a philosophy or training inclusion butterfly, flitting from one idea to another, always tinkering too much and making big changes, as you won’t follow a pathway that will take your jumpers to the destination that provides the strongest of opportunities to improve and adapt. Consistency is needed. Too many diversions along the way will do just that and divert them from adapting and developing optimally.
However, having said that you still need to be reflexive and welcome to a little tweaking in particular when you have relevant experience - specific experimentation.
An example, on a recent presentation for Ireland I talked about the long jump take-off and how there are different ways to set this up. Fifteen years back I would not have known very much about this topic at all. I explained how I was experimenting with step placements into the board and also pushing from the penultimate step into the take-off step. This was done with a couple of experienced jumpers who had the technical and physical long jump literacy to do this. I’d explained to them that I didn’t know what to expect i.e. it might work or might not. We discussed what happened and there were differences that affected the jump. One jumper seemed to benefit more than the other (more on this in another post/video).
So, unless you try different things, you’ll not know what else might unlock another 15-20cm. As a coach I am in a position to be able to understand what I am trying to do (most of the time!). All coaches hopefully will get to this level where, for example, armed with a huge long jump (or other event) backstory and history they can begin to really understand how to coach their event (I’m not so far down the line on my triple jump journey). It’ll take time, effort and some tinkering. Develop your philosophy. Develop your knowledge of what does work but don’t be afraid to listen, experiment and tinker (within your parameters). In doing so you will become the coach you dreamt of becoming and just maybe your athletes will thank-you!
I often get questions and queries submitted to me via my YouTube channel. There are always many when it comes to weight training’s benefits for sports performance. One in particular piqued my interest as it “suggested” that Arnold Schwarzenegger would have run 9.4 for the 100m!
Here’s a little more detail and the question and thoughts posed by Randuuum – a channel member.
“Running and jumping are nearly entirely neurological and infinitely involve more reflex and coordination than muscle. If muscle created downward force, then Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a 9.4 100m runner and 35-foot long jumper!”
So, you can begin to understand what the compromises might be with weight training for sports performance.
I had a chat back and forth in the comments section with Randuuum, and as said we agreed on quite a lot.
Weight training may not target the most powerful of fast twitch muscle fibres
Weight training due to the speed of lift in particular tends to target type 2a intermediate fast twitch fibres. These are not the most power producing of fast twitch muscle fibres – type 2bs are. Indeed, studies indicate power lifters have more of these than 2b fibre types.
Neural Adaptation – perhaps the dominant benefit
There is a secondary contribution of lifting heavy weights fast to sprint and jump performance and it indeed may well be the dominant one i.e. the more important for when considering the benefits of weight training for sprints and jumps and this is neural adaptation/stimulation.
Basically, lifting heavier weights may allow for the athlete to recruit greater numbers of fast twitch muscle fibres (paradoxically including type 2bs) and because of this create a neural system that can do so when sprinting or jumping. The larger the fast twitch motor units and fibres that are recruited by neural energy the more power potential that will be on offer to be sued by the athlete.
So, it could be argued that it’s neural transference as opposed to muscular adaptation that’s key to enhancing sprint and jump performance through the use of weights – however, as usual there’s more to it.
In the video that goes with this article I try to add clarity to this neural element by looking at modern cars and how to get the most from the engine there’s a lot of computer and electrical energy required … so, for engine read muscles and for electrical and computer energy read brain and neural system for the sprinter/jumper. So, being highly charged neurally i.e. in the zone seems to be crucial when it comes to maximising transference and adaptation from weights.
You’ve got to do the right weight training
You’ve got to select more than just concentric (muscular shortening) exercises. I utilise triphasic training – which also includes eccentric and isometric exercises (muscular lengthening and no-movement actions) and complex the weights exercises often with plyos and other jump exercises in the same workout. This is seen to further enhance fast twitch muscle fibre and motor unit recruitment.
Make sure your training programme focusses on transference…
This means that what you do in the weights room (which in itself must be specific and targeted to what will really improve jumping and sprinting) must be part of a training plan that integrates all aspects of training toward that goal of, for example, improving jump performance.
To do this I use undulating periodisation and don’t favour traditional linear periodisation means. As I say in the associated video: “You don’t want to get a mismatch between those training modalities.”
The value of eccentric and isometric “power” can be exemplified by using the long jump as a prime example of where this braking absorbent before energy return muscular power is needed in abundance. Much research indicates that for the long jump take-off that eccentric power is key.
You only need so much maximal strength
Much contemporary coaching thought has it that you only need a certain albeit high level of basic (concentric) strength. Once this level is attained then it’s argued that going beyond this will have limited if any further benefit to enhancement of performance. It’s at this stage in particular where optimising eccentric and isometric power could really pay dividends.
Eccentric muscular actions target fast twitch muscle fibre
Research indicates that eccentric actions can target greater numbers of fast twitch muscle fibres and this in itself may be another further benefit of eccentric training.
Adaptation and time spent training a particular way…
The body needs time to adapt to a training stimulus - although perhaps not as much as may have been previously suggested. Doing the same type of training constantly will at the least slow adaptation and at worse create the wrong type of adaptation. Adaptation that is actually contrary to what you may desire.
So, a long block of concentric emphasis weight training without a carefully constructed training programme nor the introduction of other muscular adaptation training and concerted speed work may result in poor/stunted training adaptation as far as a long jumper is concerned, for example.
Compromising muscular adaptation – rest and recovery
The other crucial factor when it comes to deriving positive and optimal transference from your training (whether weights or anything else) is rest and recovery. You need to ensure that you provide both mind and muscle with enough time to adapt physically and neurally to all training stimuli. There’s a growing debate in coaching and sports science circles about how the body adapts to training. The older GAS method of Hans Selye may if not discredited be seen to not apply to sports specific adaptation. More on that in another video/article.
This article accompany a video that will be on my YouTube channel shortly (13th March 2021)
HOW TO PLAN A TRAINING CYCLE – EARLY SEASON
Suitable for long and triple jumpers and short sprinters
This is the transcript from the second Coach-Athlete member videos on my YouTube channel. Every month I produce a video exclusively for members. Video 4 has just gone live. So far we have covered:
Video 1: How to plan training
Video 2: How to plan a training phase - early season
Video 3; How to use your coach's eye to adapt training and get the most from your athletes
Video 4: How to seamlessly transition to a competition phase.
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Many fellow jumps coaches from around the world have signed up and are benefitting from the more directed and specific content.
In the first video in this series for Coach-Athlete channel members' "Training Planning Getting Started” we considered just that. I identified three key areas which I believe long and triple jump coaches especially should focus on – these being:
1: Developing Specific Physical Capacity 2:
Developing Optimum Technical Ability
3: Developing the Ability to express Specific Speed and Power
I also considered in brief my planning method – undulating periodisation and my “jigsaw of drills” approach to gluing a plan together.
In this follow-on video we now consider how you can plan a training unit at the beginning of the training year. The process will work for all levels of athletes – indeed I train younger athletes more or less the same as older ones in terms of the training framework that I use. I’ll say more about specific differences when it comes to training younger athletes (circa u14) in another video. And of course, I'll adapt some of the drills and the volume to younger athletes.
Talking you through my Training Plan
As you’ll have seen and heard in the video, I use my own plan as an example of how to plan long and triple jump training against the undulating periodisation model. By doing this I hope that you will be able to see how you can use this model or consider it. You may of course have your preferred planning model. Note undulating periodisation or block periodisation models can work for most power/technical events.
I begin by showing you what I include in the training plan i.e. the types of drills units that I incorporate. These range from basic drills, such as marching and lunges, to jump drills (take-off and penultimate step), to technique work and sprints, as well as strength and conditioning (weights and plyos).
Some practical considerations
You, like I, will need to construct your training plan and phases around: 1: What facilities are available 2: The training maturity of the athletes you coach 3: The time in the training year 4: How much time the athlete (and you as their coach) have
How I Plan: Planning a Session at the Beginning of the Training Year
I take the drills I use (and these are denoted on the left of my plan as shown in the video) and place them into units on the week to week part of the plan or more practically for the days when the athletes train. There are three main group sessions when I am normally present and one designed weights/conditioning day, which the athletes do on their own.
There may be an additional session but generally the athletes train four days a week in terms of major sessions.
Within a session there may be 4-6 drill units. And as I note the inflection of these as well as the intensity and volume is varied across the training year. This as I explain reflects the notion of always training specifically and within a very narrow bandwidth of being able to perform at a high level i.e. close to sprint PB’s. The idea is to build, for example, speed on speed on speed and not – as the case could be with linear periodisation, take steps back away from specific condition and therefore lose potential specific condition before regaining it. Ideally you want a constant specific adaptation – one that targets fast twitch muscle fibre and the motor units which switch them on and the technical progression and solidification against relevant conditioning and speed inputs.
You must consider the objectives of the training phase and the sessions when making your programme content inclusions.
I take you through specific sessions and you’ll see some of the drills that were performed. I also talk about how you can, using this method, develop basic background fitness for long and triple, for example, but in a specific way.
Planning a Week or short Training Phase at the Beginning of the Training Year
The graphic How to Plan a Training Phase hopefully makes the notion of undulating periodisation and how it works easier to grasp. The redline represents the undulation of desired peak performance and you can see how it ebbs and flows around an optimum performance baseline across the training year with the objective being that it increases peak performance more or less continuously.
We go through the other sessions that my group did on its first week back of training. I show you what I intend to do by placing specific drills into a specific day.
Rest Recovery and Regeneration
I also show you how you can include weights and plyos into a session with sprint drills also included (why not?), as we do on a typical Monday session. I explain that this could enable the athlete to have a rest day the following day and therefore maximise/optimise adaptation. Remember that it’s in the times when an athlete is not training when their body and neural system will adapt.
Also consider that work, study and life stress also affect an athlete’s training, training status and adaptation.
More on Combining Weights and Plyos into a Workout (with or without other units)
Many of the world’s top jumps’ coaches such as Nelio Moura (coach to both long jump gold medallists at the 2008 Olympics) complex their weights and plyometric training. This is seen to be advantageous in terms of potentiation and fast twitch motor unit recruitment and neural activation. More on this in a future video. As noted this is what I usually do.
A look at the Third Training Session in the First Week
This session is at a slightly lower level of intensity than the ones from the Saturday and Monday. Being mid-week working and studying athletes can be more fatigued in general. However, again I will consider some of the options for the session once it is taking place. Not all your athletes will have recovered the same and some will be having better or worse days. You as coach have to try and make judgement calls on the day as to how to apply the basics of your session to your athletes in real-time.
Overview of Session Content for a Typical Early Season Week
Unit 1: Jog to hills area (5-6min)
Unit 2: Basic drills balance
Unit 3: Basic drills fitness
Unit 4: Foot-strike and take-off drills
Unit 5: Various jumps and sprint drills options up bridge steps
Unit 6: 6x60m hill easy efforts – walk back recovery. Ran at whatever pace athlete wants to
Unit 1: Bar drills and runs 10-13 efforts, over 20m-30m
Unit 2: Weights and plyos contrast session – mixture of different muscular actions. 3 main exercises in weights room, e.g. eccentric split squats, step back lunge, isometric leg press
Unit 1: Barefoot drills and runs
Unit 2: Partial hops and bounds 8-10 combinations over 30m
Unit 3: Eccentric emphasis block jumps travelling forward 3x30m
Unit 4: Med ball work triple extension focus 2x8 reps each exercises (3 exercises)
Unit 5:8x60m easy runs with walk back recovery
Thursday Unit 1:
Resistance session concentric emphasis (3 main exercises e.g. squats, cleans) I hope these notes add some clarity to the video and if you have any queries do get back to me.
We all wanted 2020 to end and for 2021 to be a truly "new" New Year. The global pandemic has been a disaster for us all and it has tested our sanity, perseverance, purpose and faith. Track is just a very small part of what goes on in the world and yet, for those of us who are coaches, athletes, fans, judges and so on it's a lot more. Not being able to coach and train properly has been a perpetual test since March of last year for me in the UK, and it's going to continue well into 2021.
We're back to lock-down as of yesterday like the one as we had in March and this means only localised exercise with no sports facilities open at all (except for those on elite programmes - more of which later).
This is a necessity for our health now as the spread of COVID is highly dangerous. however, It means that I, like many coaches, will have to dig deep and summon up the energy to try to motivate our athletes to keep in shape and to train as best as they can.
Last time around I posted and created lockdown workouts which can be done at home or in parks and on the roads (if it safe to do so). You can check these out on the channel at:
I may well create a couple more this time around again too.
I've been able to coach relatively normally since the autumn - albeit with some changes in venues and the need to train outdoors, but we were getting there. Now, for many of the group (like many others everywhere else) that end destination has been changed. Well it's actually no longer in existence - and it's unlikely that normal training will resume for months. Plus, the excitement and drive of competing indoors has vanished. You can always sense that it's in the air at the time of the year. It's going to be a tough time.
As I said last time around athletes have to try to enjoy what training they can do and to not think too much about competing ... it's a case of ticking over and training for health and mental well-being as well as performance.
I'll be trying to keep my guys on that path.
However, I do have three athletes who are deemed to be elite and they can still train if facilities are willing to remain open. So, I'll be coaching "normally" a couple of times a week. I'll also do some 121 sessions with them where allowed in outdoor spaces too. You'll see a pic of Jahisha below working out in a local park.
There's a lot you can still do and hopefully we will all do what we can within the realms of what our country's regulations are.
Perhaps now, instead of seeing training sessions as a means to a PB, see them now as part of your well-being, as a way to feel better about what's going on, as something that you have relative control over, and as something to do that will make you feel better after having trained.
Find that different motivation. And make sure to look out for your fellow athletes and coaches and all in the track family and beyond. Stay-safe everyone.
It's taken a while but I finally pulled together the third issue of The Jumper. It's packed full of articles that should appeal to jumpers coaches and fans of these events alike. We've articles from top coaches such as Nick Newman, who's based in the US at USC as jumps and coach - Nick talks about his approach to jumps coaching. You can get his book from Amazon.
Then we have an article from Nelio Moura who has coached two Olympic long jump champions ... yes two. Nelio shares with us his tips on how to coach the long jump take-off. Top sprint coach Jonas Dodoo shares with us his tactics and technical tips for developing speed. Speed is something that all long jumpers and triple jumpers crave so this is a must read. Jonas's' article is part of a larger speed special, where we delve into numerous aspects of speed development, such as acceleration.
The issue includes it's usual mix and there's our social media watch, where we single out great pages and channels and podcasts for you to scroll to.
This issue was supported by Neuff - athletic equipment suppliers, so do check them out. There are some great offers from them (and other brands in the magazine). From Neuff you can get a Power Pack which includes sled, stretch bands and med balls and was part selected by your truly. It's a great combination of items that are actually really useful and applicable to sprinters and jumpers.
To get hold of the issue for FREE, all you need to do is click on the image. It will download from the web and from there - should you want - you can download it as a PDF. Links to the various media will work in both formats
For many of you in the world you are already in lock-down due to COVID. Fellow Europeans in Germany, France and Belgian for example are living under much more restricted conditions and now we in the UK are back on lockdown. As I'm a coach I'll focus on the impact this will have on me and the athletes I coach.
We will probably have nowhere to train from Thursday (when the lockdown starts) in terms of tracks and gyms (there maybe one track which we used in the summer that may be able to stay open as it has no indoor facilities attached to it ... fingers-crossed there). We can only go outside with one other who is not from our household, so I'm limited to coaching one athlete at a time whether at a track or in a park, for example (I have around 20 of various ages that I coach). Working (who have to go to work venues which is still allowed) and studying athletes (schools and universities remain open) will have problems training as now it's winter light conditions and dark at 4.30pm--5.00pm .
At least during the initial 2-3 month lock-down it was spring and summer and outside opps were better.
Turning a negative into a positive
Some of my athletes brought weights and other resistance equipment first lockdown around so they'll be able to use them which is great. They will also have got used to lock-down conditions ... however, it's doing it again that will take its toll (and being pessimistic, it would not surprise me if this lockdown is extended and/or there's another).
I'll have to go back to on-line lockdown workouts and will try to improvise so that the athletes do as best as is possible what they were going to do under non-lockdown conditions. I'll produce some more channel lock-down workouts for athletes to do in limited spaces, parks or on the street (where it is safe to do so). They were well appreciated last time, so thanks!
We made it through the last period and most of the group achieved PBs over the truncated late summer season ... so, this will hopefully act as their (and your) and my motivation to keep going.
An indoor season may only now be a slim chance but we will be much better geared up for outdoor meetings and how they should be run and made COVID secure, so that's a positive.
At times like this (and there are of course much bigger problems than jumping into sand) sport and exercise and its regime can add a purpose and direction to life. We need to keep each other motivated to train as best as is possible. However, we need to reduce the pressure and try to enjoy the fact that we can get out and workout, even in a 121 situation or as a 1 (coaches too need to workout). Something is better than nothing.
We need to motivate each other. And don't forget your coach "we" spend so much energy keeping others going, we need a bit of support and encouragement too! Stay-safe and let me know how you are doing. And please support the channel by considering becoming a member.
And do consider supporting my YouTube channel
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ALWAYS LEARNING European Horizontal Jumps and Sprints Symposium Karlstaad Sweden RELEVANT YOUTUBE PLAYLISTS BELOW:
It's important for all of us to continually learn and evaluate as coaches and athletes.
Last year I was very privileged to journey to Sweden for the bi-annual jumps and sprints get together organised by Swedish Athletics and European Athletics. In 2017 I'd also been to the event in Falun.
Although the majority of coaches were Scandinavian there were coaches from all over Europe – I met some from Portugal, France and The Netherlands. To say that the symposium was packed full of theory and practicals is a bit of an understatement, rather it would be truer to say that it was over-flowing with sessions. There was, for example, a practical on the Sunday morning before we left for home at midday which kicked off at 7.45am!
The team of speakers included, regular on the coaching lecture circuit, Dan Pfaff, Sweden's Yannick Tregaro (former coach to Christian Olsson and currently Tobias Montler) and Serbia's Goran Obradovic coach to Ivana Spanovic.
I always like practical sessions as you can really see what the coaches are trying to get across and how they coach an event - however, I will say that some of the theory lectures in Karlstaad were equally gripping. As a coach, it's important that you digest and think about what’s being said by the expert coaches and don't just follow exactly what they do - that's to say incorporate their ideas into your training without knowing why you should. It would be really easy to mimic certain drills, for example, or give Ivana Spanovic's weights programmes to your athletes (Obradovic was very open with what he shared). Obviously training programmes are designed for specific athletes and cater for what a particular athlete needs.
A session that I really appreciated was taken by Tregaro – he’s one of Sweden's most profile coaches in terms of turning out great athletes. A look at the PBs of the athletes he has coached tells you much (HJ 2.30m/2.08m, TJ 17.83m, LJ 8.22m/6.41m etc). The Swede's session was all about specific warm-ups and the take-off for the long jump. He showed some new to me drills and I was engrossed in thinking how I could apply these to those I coach back in the UK. I was particularly reflective on his thoughts on the arm action at take-off. He advocated a lifting of the shoulders and arms after the arms had passed into the more normal take-off position (with the front hand's arm roughly parallel to the eye and the rear upper arm around parallel to the ground). He showed via athlete demonstrators a number of drills where the arms continue to lift (to almost a shrug of the shoulders). Doing this is seen to create more vertical force and lift on take-off. This is something that I have seen numerous continental jumpers do and I could now see why it could work.
Some other unique to me drills pertained to the penultimate step set-up, where there was a very dynamic emphasis on the step placement before the transition into the jump. Look out for more on Pfaff and Obradvoic's presentations in another post and you can checkout some of the sessions from Karlstaad and Falun on the channel.
Check out the relevant playlists LINKS above. Below me in Falun with Sweden's all-time jumper Michel Torneus (8.44PB) sort of!