Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
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.
You'll have heard me talk about about eccentric training on this blog or on my YouTube Channel. This is the type of specific work which will improve your reactivity, your sprint speed and your jump power.
Think of an eccentric muscular action as like stretching out a spring - if you did this the spring would store a huge amount of energy. Energy which will be released when the spring is let go and it recoils at super-fast speed.
In our events the stretch of the spring as noted reflects the eccentric muscular lengthening action and the release the muscular shortening concentric muscular action one.
There's much research that indicates that improving eccentric capacity will improve concentric capacity - hence it's crucial to train this muscular action.
There are lots of ways to this, for example, you can do specific drills, some being more jump orientated and some more sprint orientated.
You can also train eccentrically with weights. If you did this the focus would be on the lowering phase of the movement. For example, when performing a squat you could slowly lower for a 4-5sec count before (or not and leaving the bar in the racks and having helpers lift the bar back to the starting position) extending the thighs to return the weight.
It's actually possible to handle more weight eccentrically then concentrically - up to 25% plus more in fact.
We regularly include eccentric training in our workouts - you'll see two members of the u20 squad doing what I call "Jump forward, block and jump" jumps in the image.
The athlete performs a medium length low height forward jump and then explodes vertically upward. The girl is performing the first part and the boy the second part in the image.
Checkout the latest video on my YouTube channel to find out more and to see this drill and more - all designed to improve eccentric capacity.
And if you needed a reason to eccentrically train: when triple jumping out of the hop the hop leg has to withstand and return up to 20 times body weight in milliseconds. Eccentric capacity is therefore vital.
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At Coach-Athlete level there are 10 videos on various subjects that will be particularly useful to coaches.
There are videos on Training Planning, Training Transfer, Speed Phase Development, Overcoming Common Coaching issues with young sprinters and jumpers ....
PEAKING AND WEIGHT TRAINING
HERE'S PART OF AN ARTICLE I WROTE ON HOW YOU CAN USE WEIGHT TRAINING TO PEAK AN ATHLETE.
It’s possible to peroiodise and peak for competitions not only via the mainstays of training but also via strength and conditioning.
There are a number of ways in which to achieve peak performances using S&C. The first and most well-known way is to enable your body to recover from the adaptation to a S&C regime (and other training inclusions). So, this would mean reducing the load of the weights, plyometrics and other S&C means in the period/periods of training leading up to a competition.
The second way is to actually use S&C to create a heightened response from your S&C training – this can include specific sessions in the days prior to a competition. Within this second method are the potentiating effects of specific S&C activities and tonus (muscle tone) outcomes.
Let’s take a look at these “peaking” options in turn.
Using S&C via reducing volume to achieve a peak
In order to achieve a peak the body must be in an adapted and recovered state. This does not mean that training loads need to be significantly reduced – although the prior intensity and volume of training will have a large effect on the extent of any reductions – that’s to say, the more training mature an athlete is in terms of volume and intensity the lower the percentage reduction of these variables needed to achieve a peak.
On the other hand, a young training immature athlete will not have the wiggle room to reduce training load in the same way and they may simply benefit before competitions from taking a day or two off.
Research exists which shows how manipulating S&C training variables can achieve a peak. Sports scientists in Sports Medicine who considered field eventers and sprint athletes noted:
“... findings indicate that to maximize the speed-strength in the short term (peaking), elite athletes should perform strength-power training twice per week. It is possible to perform a single strength-power session with the method of maximum explosive strength actions moving high-weight loads (90% 1 repetition maximum [RM]) at least 1-2 days.”
So, this conclusion is referencing speed/power athletes as indicated with a high level of specific training maturity. Why the emphasis on the “high weight loads”? Much further research indicates that lifting heavy and safely fast recruits the biggest and most powerful bundles of fast twitch fibres and the motor units which control them. The residual effect is the priming this can have on the central nervous system and what known as potentiation - another factor identified in the S&C peaking approach, of which more later.
In order to make sure that the heavy weight training is of the right intensity and volume, some trial and error will be required and the training maturity and “history” of peaking specific to the athlete must also be factored in.
If S&C is consistent over a number of years and the athlete/coach knows that certain S&C parameters are met (closeness to 1rep max and other rep max tests, distances achieved for specific plyo tests) then it will be easier to reduce S&C loads whilst keeping an eye on those peak S&C levels known to bring about peak performance.
It will also be easier to “top up” again, if as in the research quoted, specific S&C sessions are maintained throughout the season.
It’s crucial for training mature athletes and those with known peak performance producing S&C “base-line” levels that specific S&C is continued throughout the competition periods. Failure to do so, although potentially leading to an early season peak will usually result in performances dropping off in the latter part of the season when the major competitions inevitably are. So, coach and athlete need to maintain to gain and cycle their S&C accordingly (along of course with the other training variables).
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
I must be somehow getting better at making videos as I was asked by leading athletic equipment supplier NEUFF to produce a video on acceleration for them. In it I talk about the value of developing acceleration for all athletic events and I also take a look at some of the means used to develop it - such as hill running, harnesses and sleds.
Technique is also considered - such as body angles and heel recovery. I also consider the land, for example, which should be placed on a sled and how too great a resistance can negatively affect sprinting biomechanics.
To hopefully provide some clarity I also explain why adding a heavy weight to a sled can also act as a conditioning means for the more senior (training mature) athlete,
Let me know what you think of the video.
And if you're looking for sleds, harnesses and other items of athletic kit for all events do head over to NEUFF.
FOR ALL ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT: PLYO BOXES, MED BALLS, THROWING IMPLEMENTS, SLEDS AND STARTING BLOCKS GO TO NEUFF ATHLETIC
What do I mean, well the lack of competitive opportunities for athletes, who have been trying to train as best as they can. This seemingly applies to athletes from all over the world at the moment and is affecting the various track & field events differently. Of course, I’m particularly concerned with the long and triple jumps being the events I coach.
Our UK’s English, Welsh and Scottish Champs have all been cancelled and we wait to see whether any higher-level comps (other that the British Champs scheduled for September) will actually happen. Elite athletes in the sprints jumps, hurdles and throws seem to be finding the odd comps abroad but here our lock-down restrictions have mitigated against limited scale meets being run for those of a lesser level and of course young athletes.
One of the main issues to limit UK comps has been that very few tracks were open … and it’s only now in late July that they are unlocking their gates and putting into practise COVID secure environments. For many tracks the locks are still in place for field events as well … my local track, for example, will open soon but the pits won’t – yet, the alternative one I’m currently using does allow pit usage and has done for numerous weeks. There are anomalies and a major one is between sports where football can be played competitively …
Last night I watched a specially staged long jump meeting from Sweden featuring many of the country’s top jumpers and it was supported by the Swedish Federation. The broadcast quality was top-notch. Tobias Montler and Khaddi Sagnia both competed in Gothenberg. It seems that there will be a series of these meetings. I believe the driving force behind them is top Swedish Coach – Yannick Tregaro (who presented at the European Jumps and Sprints Symposium which was held last Dec in Karlstad, Sweden and which I attended).
So, it seems that I and fellow coaches will have to follow Yannick’s lead if we want to have any regular jumps comps in the UK this year, but having looked at the documentation produced to run one it’s going to take some organising and a stumbling block may well be finding a track willing to cooperate. So, watch this space for if and when we put on any jumps meets. I certainly want to make it happen.
Click on the banner below to watch the meeting from Sweden.
I regularly get questions posted on aspects of jumping, sprinting and conditioning on my various social media and in particular my YouTube channel., so I thought I would share a couple with you with my answers.
QUESTION 1 TRANSFERENCE OF TRAINING
I have been saying the same thing for years be it with runners or swimmers. It is all about thinking about transference and keeping the exercises as close to the chosen sport or activity as possible. I believe in working on challenging stability and making exercises as proprioceptively rich as possible so that the athlete figures out how to create a feeling of 'stiffness' and control is really important. So using plyometric exercises combined with landing and taking off from a slightly unstable surface or Bosu Ball can work OR stepping up onto a Bosu Ball with a weight or sandbag on the shoulders might be more rewarding. Wonder what you think?
I agree that working on unstable surfaces can be great for proprioception and injury avoidance and learning that "control" needed. One of the best ways, I believe of challenging the long jump take-off, for example, is by using a low mat for the penultimate step (as you may have seen in a video or two of mine). This should only be a couple of cms high and it overloads the take-off improves force absorption and return. We use a 6-10 step approach as it is very demanding. So this drill is very close to the requirements of the long jump take-off and has that direct transference as you indicate. I'm not one for heavy weights and Olympic Lifts in their own right, although we do do these (with the mature jumpers) following more triphasic methods. For young athletes there are far better and much more specific ways to get stronger, for jumping and sprinting from my point of view. With older athletes it's then a case of working out what they need more specifically - which could include a greater emphasis on weights and a specific muscular action.
QUESTION 2 SPRINT TECHNIQUE
My right thigh gets higher than Asafa Polwell’s one. Maybe it’s just about increasing frequency?
Your knees need to do forward and up and not just up (as may be the case by the sound of it). Think about moving your hips to generate speed and lifting the heel from the back of the body to the front and across the knee to achieve this also. If you improve your hip speed then your stride length and frequency will improve as well as your technique.
There are plenty of videos on the channel which will help you with this.
Check out this one. https://youtu.be/2hlZnNWf_wg
QUESTION TRIPLE JUMP
Double arms or single arm action which is the best,what is difference between this two types.
Double arm is probably the best throughout all the phases from a balance and power transference perspective. A single or quarter on the take-off can allow for more speed .- but due to the way the arms can recover it can lead to imbalance in the hop going into the step. Computer models for what they are worth in the real world vindicate the use of a double arm action throughout the phases and also a hop dominant phase ratio.
Women tend to use a counter movement swing more for balance than propulsion. Hope this helps Here a useful video:
AND DON"T FORGET TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE JUMPER WHERE MANY MORE QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED. ONE OF THE STAND OUT ONES BEING HOW TO RETURN FROM LOCK-DOWN BY ENGLAND ATHLETICS MEDICAL LEAD, PHYSIO Stuart Butler. Click on link to view to go and watch video for more content.
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I hope you are coping with lock-down and that in terms of your track (and other sports) participation you are at least maintaining your fitness and if you are a coach coaching virtually, if you're unable to coach face-to-face. I've been beavering away and have just published the summer issue of THE JUMPER. it's packed full of multi-media that will hopefully keep you interested!
In this issue we have articles on how to return to speed after lock-down written by top UK and England Athletics physio Stuart Butler. We also have an article on how to review and monitor your athletes' training by elite Brazilian coach Nelio Moura and an article on jumper's nutrition.
I write on the importance of speed for the long and triple jump and unearth some research which relates 100m (and other variables) to potential distance a jumper could achieve (for the long jump).
There are also more coach and athlete led features - for example, we talk to Gabe who's a coach of all track & field events based in Singapore.
There's also a feature on how Electro Muscular Stimulation can boost athletic performance, plus product reviews.
We talk to Markus Lundborg, the triple jumper and driving force behind the Triple Jumpers Podcast and social media.(70.6k followers on instagram!).
The Jumper is also packed full of links to my YouTube videos where relevant and external sources. So, all in all there's much to read, watch and listen to.
I hope the content assists, educates and entertains you, whether you be a fellow track coach or athlete or involved in another sport.
After her 6.42mPb in the Welsh Champs the week before it was off to Lee Valley for the South of England Champs. WATCH JUMPS HERE (ABD BELOW). I had kept the intensity down in the week between the two comps. This is important as when an athlete records a personal best they will have pushed themselves and in particular their neural system to the limit - and this needs time to recover and regenerate. If you don't do this then you run the risk of over-training. So in the intervening week Sarah did not do any jumping or any 100% effort work. We, for example, did build-up runs to 90% intensity one mid-week session and replaced running and doing drills with bars with hands positioned on the hips instead. I did permit a reasonably full on weights session on the Thursday. Well, the prep seemed to have worked as Sarah jumped well again and equalled her old PB of 6.39m and in doing so broke the South of England Champs record which had lasted since 1995. So two CBPs in a week. You'll see a very long no jump in the first round and then the 6.39m and replay, 5.95 from behind the board, then a 6.29m and a run through - there was another NJ. As I've stressed it's important to not always go 100% - your body and mind needs time to recover and adapt. There's now two weeks until her next comp so we will build up again this week and then have a slight taper next week. Our focus and that of Paul (from the seniors) will be the British Trials which take place in Glasgow. The training planning method I use "undulating periodisation" should enable us to achieve multiple peaks in a training year - more on that in another post or video.