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.