We started practice today by holding our first triple jump session. To prepare for the session I rolled out two large foam "runways" that are generally used around pole vault and high jump pits. These are used to soften the blows of the triple jump landings and helps my athletes to stay healthy. As well, I got out my rolling bucket that I use to transport the banana hurdles I made from PVC pipe (which you can find the plans for under the resource tab).
Using one of the foam "runways" and two banana hurdles I instructed the veterans to simply get back in the motions of performing the first and second phases. They spaced the banana hurdles out sufficiently to practice the hop and step phases and went through the two phases a large number of times.
Using the other foam "runway" and numerous banana hurdles the jumpers learning triple for the first time simply split up into groups and worked on the first phase (the hop). They practiced this phase by simply jumping (and landing) using their jump foot, and trying to touch the banana hurdle with their free leg/foot. There was no speed involved today as newer athletes need to learn how to pull this phase off without speed before moving on to the next drills related to the hop phase. Each new jumper must have practiced this phase roughly 50-75 times in a small amount of time.
Both veterans and "newbies" experienced a great deal of foot contacts today on purpose. During the first month of practice everything is about general strength and conditioning. We need to really "pound" our athlete's legs during this time so that they are properly prepared for what their legs will feel during the competition part of the season. This entire week will be about simply getting the veterans back "up to speed" and teaching the newbies the first phase at very low (to medium) speeds. That, and a great deal of "pounding".
Once I finished with triple jump, I worked with the sprint coaches on their event practice plans (timed 40's and vertical jump tests).
Once sprints were finalized I was given time to first work with male long jumpers, and later female long jumpers. During the long jump block of practice today we worked on starts. Many don't know this but the start is one of the most important components in the jumps. Without a proper start, your chances of scratching are nearly 90% as a young/inexperienced high school jumper. Practicing/introducing the start today was the first step in getting my athletes to become precise and knowledgeable in their movements. Many don't spend too much time on this part of the approach/jump but we do!
The veterans spent time with another coach (coach Cross) and worked on the "5th cone drill" (you can find a video of this on the starts page). I wanted to make sure they were showing they could be consistent in their starts. There was no reason for them to spend time with the new athletes who were learning about the start - they've already gone through that during their first years as jumpers.
The new jumpers were with me, and we went through the "ins and outs" of the crouch start. I walked them through how to properly get into the crouch start, and then gave them time to practice it to simply get themselves to a point of general understanding. During this time I watched them perform a large number of starts and critiqued them along the way.
Once all jumpers worked with coach Cross and I on starts, we finished practice with a whole-team (sprinters, throwers, jumpers, etc.) cool down.
How to properly takeoff in the long jump (flat, flat), skipping for height, and multi jumps (plyometrics).
Check back tomorrow to learn more about day 3!