Coaching, jumps, sprints & more
Everything about jumping and sprinting and how to improve your performance
“They suggest how practitioners could design better training tasks, based on key ecological constraints of competition, to provide athletes with opportunities to explore and exploit functional intentions and movement solutions high in contextual specificity.”
Eur J Sport Sci. 2019 Aug;19(7):913-921. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1564797. Epub 2019 Jan 7
Well, what does that mean and yes, it does refer to the long jump?
I had a look at a some long jump research and there seems to have been a relatively recent small spate of research studies which look at how jumpers respond to their run-ups under competitive situations for example. This has ramifications for training - hence the above quote.
The 2019 study analysed the performance of 244 long jumpers and identified key influencing constraints/factors that affected “long jump behaviour”:
1: … (the) particularly intended performance goals of athletes and their impact on future jump performance.
2: performance environments (e.g. strength and direction of wind) and tasks (e.g. requirement for front foot to be behind foul line at take-off board to avoid a foul jump).
Nothing revelatory there then i.e. conditions external to the athlete and internal i.e. motivation affected jumping.
The researchers also noted: “Results revealed the interconnectedness of competitive performance, highlighting that each jump should not be viewed as a behaviour in isolation, but rather as part of a complex system of connected performance events which contribute to achievement of competitive outcomes.”
For me it’s the quote I started this post with that’s salient and hopefully explains the other above. And here I “translate” (hopefully) what the researchers stated to usable language:
Practitioners i.e. coaches and jumpers should make training task-specific that reflects the competition situation.
It’s obvious! No doubt there’s more to my simplified interpretation as a raft of sports scientists and performance analysts could be used to interpret and recommend on the relevant practice.
From my knowledge (backed up by research) I know that full run-ups to the pit with a take-off are key to long jump success (visual acuity and constant “reading” of the run-up make for success). Also manipulating and learning and patterning of the step rhythms into take-off is vital. That’s a contextual skill which must be worked on. The jumper will use kinaesthetic and proprioceptive mechanisms to adjust their run-ups and therefore accuracy. You can’t do this without doing it.
Motivation (aka competitive performance) will also affect the outcome.
It’s all about constructing a jumper who can control their emotions and use them to stay within the constraints of the competition i.e. hit the board at optimum speed with an optimised take-off set up.
So, we coaches need to maximise this environment and to do this means specificity and variability within training.
Let’s consider the run-up. The jumper must develop the rhythm and feel of the phases and “know” how to pattern the last steps time after time. To do this needs constant repetition and feedback on the part of the jumper (and coach). You have to make the jumper the master of their environment and not the puppet in the environment. Pun intended they pull their strings in order to jump far (without fouling)!
At meetings I see as a spectator and experience as a coach jumpers who are unable to control their environment and this has ranged from being expected with young athletes to elite ones (who should know better).
It’s up to us as coaches to produce the jumper who pulls their own strings and is in control of their environment or as those sport scientists put it and as I started (well they started):
“… provide athletes with opportunities to explore and exploit functional intentions and movement solutions high in contextual specificity.”