Today we had both a morning and an afternoon practice. This morning I had roughly 12 athletes show up, and worked solely on approaches with them. With having such a large team (70+ jumpers) the ability to work with a small group of athletes is super refreshing. I'm able to instill so much more knowledge when this happens.
We worked on their consistency of their fist 5 steps, and worked on getting a "rough number" for the approach mark. The athletes have a long way to go on the mechanics, posture, etc. of the approach but I thought they did very well today!
During our normal practice time I started my day working with triple jumpers. The new jumpers added the last phase (the jump) on to their training and did very well. I again covered what the first two phases should look like, and then added instruction on the jump phase. The new jumpers responded very well to instruction, and in general, looked very good with the transitions between each phase.
As a quick summary - the hop phase is an extension of sprinting and should be an outward push with little knee and arm drive happening. The step phase should be done by aggressively driving your knee and arm to mirror the form of a long jump. The step phase needs to be higher (if possible) than the hop phase and has an upward AND outward focus. Lastly, the jump phase needs to be another step phase, but with a different jump foot. Again you are driving your knee and arm with an outward and upward focus.
The veteran triple jumpers again worked on the entirety of the jump, and then transitioned to a new drill that we've never done before - the standing triple jump. The athletes were instructed to take no steps for momentum, and to simply rock with their jump foot forward in their stance. After doing that they were simply instructed to perform a triple jump. I had them each do this 2-3 times to get comfortable with the drill. Once they had accomplished experiencing the drill (and better understood it) I measured their distances and recorded them. I am very big in recording data this year because I want to see growth. I want to see that my training is making a difference and that they are getting better as the year progresses. I know that I can do that by simply keeping track of their jumps at meets, but I honestly feel the more data the better (if you are smart about it).
By not having any kind of approach during the standing triple jump, athletes are solely working on the improvement of their phases. This drill should theoretically make their phases more "crisp" in the long run of our training. It should (hopefully) teach them how to perform the first phase properly because they have to push outwards (without approach speed) to start the drill of right.
Once our triple jump work was done those athletes went with the sprint coaches and their other (non-triple-jumping) teammates to complete the sprint workout for the day. They performed a few timed "whistle drills" and were push very hard today due to our focus being a "Lactate day". This means that today's workout was all about pushing them hard, like they'd experience at a meet. We don't do these types of practices often, but it is necessary in properly preparing them for the "ugliness" of a track meet.
When they finished, sprinters either transitioned to the weight room or to me depending on gender. With me, jumpers worked on the "flat, flat" method of the long jump takeoff (see the video). We focused on jumping up to soft plyo boxes by using a flat, flat contact just before takeoff. In general the athletes did very well and are starting to better understand what the last two steps of the long jump should look like.
After that (to keep the practice intensity high) we bounded for a great deal of time. Bounding is a hard movement that many kids simply don't know how to do. They don't drive their knees. The point their toes downward. They don't use their arms. To help with this I spent a great deal of time instructing them on how it should look and had them perform a large number of overall bounds. Bounding is basically a long jump and the step phase (from triple jump) all wrapped into one so it's a GREAT drill/movement to work on with your athletes!
To sum it all up - we pushed the kids HARD today!
Is a recovery day. The athletes will be working on either a super easy pool workout/game or yoga. We have pushed them hard now for a solid week so it's time to take our feet off the gas and give them a day of complete rejuvenation!