Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
I've just returned from a weekend in the Midlands... Birmingham & Nottingham. In the latter I visited a nature reserve and looked at the habitat of many migratory birds... and very relaxing it was especially if you know your Mallards from your er ducks. Nope this blog has not turned into an environmental, natural history one. I only start this post like this as for some reason I've always been an inquisitive type who likes to learn and discover, hence my sojourn to the nature reserve. The real reason I was in the Midlands (sorry wildlife) was to attend two courses relevant to my development as a coach.
First up I spent a day with one of the athletes I coach (16m plus triple jumper Jonathan Ilori) on the England Athletics Jumps weekend. These events bring together some of the top jumpers and coaches in the country to share knowledge and experiences. The athletes get to be watched by different coaches and there's a healthy interchange of ideas and "what if you did that/what about changing that movement". If, as a coach or an athlete you're not prepared to listen to new thoughts then you're not going to progress. Another coach may just see how to change that "fault" you've been working on. I hope I helped some of the other coaches and I definitely got some great pointers from UKA coach Aston Moore. I tend to emphasis the forward movement of my take-off drills, for example. However, for the triple jump in particular you also need range, and a skipping drill may have its range compromised by too great an emphasis on forward momentum. So, I'll now be adding some more range developing examples into our programme as a consequence of the Birmingham session.
The day also included a great talk by 17m60 man Nathan Douglas, who presented on the stress and recovery aspects of being an athlete. Great advice was given on how athletes, coaches and in fact everyone, should learn how to deal with stress and crucially take time to regenerate and recover. Some great anecdotes and visuals were used to get across the points Nathan was making. I'm sure the younger athletes in the room will have taken on board what was presented with Nathan's passion and humour. They'll definitely recall why he wanted to "Knock Walter Davies' lights out". (Walter if you're reading this, he doesn't really mean it...).
The day I attended also included a testing session where the long and triple jumpers performed various power tests - which included, for example, four hops and a jump and standing long jumps. It was good to see how well Jonathan did against norms that other UK jumpers have produced over the years of testing. Obviously you need to be mindful of the validity of the test and how it impacts on performance. I did ask how Jonathan stacked up against other jumpers - and based on his results was advised that he was capable of the distances we thought he was (everything else being equal). So, fingers-crossed, it'll be a great season for him next year.
After Birmingham I headed to Notts for a UK Coaching "Into High Performance" two-day event - where we were told we were not "lucky" but "exceptionally talented" to have been selected to attend. Us British people always tend to downplay our achievements for fear of being seen as big-headed - so I'll say it was great to be selected! The two days of seminars were all about developing as a coach and working on our own "training". We coaches spend so much time training others that we can neglect ourselves (there were parallels with Nathan's presentation). So, it was great to be involved with other coaches across a wide array of sports, such as football, to Paralympic sports, including, judo, shooting and partially sighted football. I'll say more on this experience in other future posts.
Learning has always been a part of me and it's great at the age I am that I still have the opportunities, desire and enjoyment of learning in great environments and with great people. Long may it continue.
Did you know certain N American birds can get blown so far off their migratory path that they end up in Nottingham....
See some of the action from the jumps weekend below....