Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
As a coach I know how important accurate timing is. In my primary event the long jump you really want to know how fast the jumper is travelling into the board over the last 10m, for example, and also importantly what their flying 20m and standing 20m sprint times are.
And for the 100m sprinter you might want to know 0-10m, 10-20m, 20-30m and 40m times. The problem is how can you do that with a stopwatch and without the type of kit that the IAAF rolls out at championships?
Enter Freelap the timing system which offers a very neat and extremely accurate (to 2-milisec) solution.
I've used the system for over a year now and have found it to be a great motivation for the athletes. As soon as those TX Junior Pro Timing pyramids are placed on the track or run-up the guys really respond and run as fast as they can.
So, not only is there the benefit of accurate timing but also of motivating higher intensity from the athletes. Win-win I guess.
The system is also easily set-up, very portable and has great consistency of operation.
If you are interested in buying a system ...
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss bespoke options and prices.
The video below will showcase more
Some further thoughts on use and my experiences ...
Like all tech the best way to learn is to play around with the kit to gain familiarity - once this is done it's important to consider and note the following.
The settings on the Tx Junior Pros (transmitter pyramids) - these need to match what you aim to time.
Here are some examples:
For a standing sprint with just end time required, the end transmitter is set to "finish" and the TX Touch Pro (start button) is used to start timing. This is a black disc with a button that is depressed with the thumb which is released when the athlete starts, thus triggering the system,
For flying times you need to set one TX Junior Pro to “start” and the end one to “finish”. The time will commence after the athlete passes the first transmitter.
For track intervals, for example, 200m reps place one Tx Touch Pro at the start set to start and one TX Junior Pro at the finish set to “finish”. Start your session.
Don't walk back past the TX Junior Pro at the finish as this will trigger the system when not needed – of which more later. You need to keep a 1.5m radius around the TX Junior Pro when wearing the FX Chip BLE (transmitter - which is the size of a small digital watch and fits on the athlete's waistband of their shorts/tights).
For improved and consistent accuracy you need to set the Tx Junior Pro receivers 80cm off the point/points you want to measure at for sprints, hurdles, intervals and long/triple jump. Why? The Tx Junior Pros pick up and store the speed of the moving athlete 80cm before them - thus, over a sprint you could have a time “inaccuracy” of 160cm with the start and finish accounted for, if you don’t position as instructed. The “add-on” 80cm also applies to split-time positioning.
Because of the Tx Junior Pros also 1.5m operating radius, freelap can time two athletes in adjacent lanes, which you can’t easily do with most accessible to athletes/coaches other timing systems (which can also take up three lanes to record an athlete in one – what with their tripods). You will need another FX Chip BLE to do this.
The app is an objective systematic coaching “diary”. It stores the times from the session of all the athletes and does this historically, so you as coach (and the athlete)s, can track their progress. You can specifically name each session and its content. (Note: all the training group can download the Myfreelap app and see their performances.)
It’s even possible for the coach to be at home, with the app open, and to be able to “virtually” see a session unfold. You give the freelap system to your athletes, they set it up as required, do the session and you’ll see how they are performing (hook this up with facetime or a wattsapp video and you’ll be even able to see the session too. - this is something I’ve yet to try!
Late September/early October is typically the time when most athletes start to really get back into their training. You should have an active rest at the end of the summer season and be ready to prepare for 2018.
The first thing I do as a coach is run through in my mind how the group as a whole did and reflect on what we did across the year. My training plan evolves ever so slightly from year to year. I have seemingly stumbled on a methodology that works for the horizontally jumps so tweaks are usually minimal. I have a mental and recorded plan of where the training will evolve from month to month, session to session.
I adopt a mixed periodisation or undulating periodisation plan. Periodisation refers to training planning. Basically I train all aspects of what's required to improve performance at the same time, just altering the emphases of the constituent parts across the training period and in individual sessions. Speed and technique are the key drivers. I aim to improve speed of the performance of a well executed skill all the time, whether that be a long jump take-off or triple jump hop. Never in my opinion loose sight of your event and what needs to be done to get better. The odd aerobic run for example won't hurt but if you can run for 15 minutes comfortably (or even uncomfortably) you're probably fit enough to train for the long jump. I've seen so many athletes train away from the requirements of their event. This could be by “living” in the weights room for the autumn! Strength gain for the sake of strength gain is a waste of time.
Strength & conditioning
As said I've seen athletes do too much weight training and become stiff, slow and heavy. I don’t think those attributes will lead to a faster 60m time. Strength and conditioning is an element of training in its own right but it should integrate into the speed and technique training sessions, for example, and not be a bolt on. This is in part why I try to also provide strength and conditioning training for those I coach. For one I know what they are doing first hand in their weekly workouts. Plus the sessions I construct are mixed ones and often include what others may include in specific S&C ones i.e, isometrics, concentric work, plyometrics, balance and pre-training drills and even weights and complex training.
Rest is a training variable. I'll save a detailed look at this for another post, but as an athlete you need to be aware that it's in the time when you are not training when your body adapts to the training load. Keep hitting the body with intense workouts whilst not allowing for recovery then it will not adapt optimally.. So recovery and rest are a vital part of training planning… more training is not necessarily better and doing too much is a common occurrence especially at the start if the the training year).
Group coaching issues
Coaching my main group collectively can be problematic as its members have individual needs. However, when you are working with 6-10 athletes at the same time it can be very difficult to prescribe specific workouts. In the occasional one-to-one sessions I do, this is of course much easier.
Tip: if you are aware of your weaknesses and your strengths then make a note of them and grab a minute with your coach to discuss them. This may jog the mind of a time-pressed coach to accommodate these needs in training (and agree or not on whether they are indeed a strength or a weakness).
Know where you are heading
Selecting goals for the forthcoming season is vital for coach and athlete. I'll take a look when the key meets are and plan training to accommodate them, the great thing about a mixed periodisation approach is that you are never far from being able to compete optimally or at lest near optimally. There's no significant de-training of speed or failure to do technical work. You build, for example, more speed on more speed.
Tip: help your coach out list, what you are aiming for comp and performance wise. In a group with men and women, boys and girls of different abilities your coach will not be an almanac of all competitions and dates.
Hopefully these points and overview of ideas based on how I plan my groups’ training will be of benefit to you and get you thinking specifically about just what you exactly need to do at the start of the training year.