I recently took a long jump session for Sussex Athletic Association in Horsham in conjunction with England Athletics. The 3-hour workshop was aimed at both coaches and athletes,
I hope I kept everyone entertained and involved! We began with the warm-up and I explained how I don't really like the term warm-up for my sessions (!) as I see the 'units' that I use from the moment the athletes get to the session as conditioning, technique, skill and power training for example.
After I had explained this (look out for a more detailed blog post on my unit approach to training), we then moved onto run-up structuring and then take-off movements and mid-air technique in the morning.
I got the athletes to understand that the run-up ends when the athlete lands in the pit and not at the board. It was pleasing that many realised this in the first place. We discussed start techniques and practised - the knees forward approach to starting that is highly prevalent at the moment and one that I favour.
Drills were done for the take-off and discussion on the length of the final three steps ensued. At elite level the ratio of these steps seems to vary but the last is always the shortest. I showed some drills regarding the flat foot positioning of the penultimate step and for the free leg swing through the take-off. There was lively debate with the coaches about the measurements of the final steps and I discussed how you can adjust board placement on the penultimate step.
Then we went onto the learning of the take-off and in particular the hitch-kick. Very surprisingly many of the jumpers did not have a definite technique - yet, within 5-10 minutes most could complete a hitch kick! Or the sweep back of the leg after take-off for the hang. The drills I use are adaptable to either hitch or hang.
In the afternoon we discussed long jump conditioning and the role of weights and plyometrics and discussed different types of muscular action and how they must all be trained in order to maximise progression. I stressed the importance of speed of reaction to the ground and not laboured movements. Reactivity is key to take-off and sprint speed.
Hopefully they'll invite me back!