Today I ended up only attending our planned morning practice due to an illness. I'll go through what I would have done with my athletes during the normally schedule track practice so you have an idea.
This morning I worked more individually with athletes to get a number down for their approach mark. The athletes did about 3-4 approaches each. I averaged their marks and gave them a mark.
After each athlete was given a mark we worked on the first 5 steps of the approach. This is called the "drive phase" and is where you see the most inconsistencies in long/triple jumpers. The drive phase is hard because athletes generally don't practice being consistent (in terms of foot placement) when running in any other event/sport. Using the first five steps and the number given to them (mark) I was able to determine where they were being inconsistent (if it happened). For instance, if an athlete was short of his/her 5th cone mark they would generally be short of the approach mark given to them. This drill takes time and effort to fully understand but it is invaluable when trying to make adjustments to the approach length for your athletes!
During the normal practice time I would have started my day with triple jumpers and would have simply had them continue to perform a large number of triple jumps on the roll out foam runway. The new jumpers have finally learned all phases of the triple jump, and adding more speed and technique would have been my goal with them. They have gotten to the point where they know the jump, but are not good technical jumpers - YET. Adding speed and more direction on technique today would have been very beneficial for them.
The veterans would have also worked solely on the phases on a roll out runway. The big focus for them right now is learning how to push out properly in the first phase. My veterans have become very good technical jumpers, but many of them still struggle with that first phase and the proper knee/arm drive. The hop phase will be our biggest focus this year so that as a team we start becoming more consistent in the step phase (and not simply taking small steps - but bounding).
During the long jump block our work with approaches (like this morning) would have been continued in the larger group setting. With having so many athletes I would have simply laid out 4-5 tape measures and had athletes partner up to count each other's steps and record the marks. Once done, I would have asked them to give me the information they recorded and I would have averaged them out to give each athlete a starting mark. At this point in the year the marks are NOT going to be their final marks but we need a starting point to use.
If we had gotten the approach numbers down I would have taught the 5th cone drill to all the jumpers and had them continue their work with their partners.
My biggest focus tomorrow will be to get the remaining approach marks for the athletes jumping Saturday. I need to work with 5 of them yet, and getting those tomorrow is paramount. With the other athletes (that are not competing) we'll work on the flat, flat drill by jumping up to soft plyo boxes and will work a little more on bounding as well. I know that some of this training sound repetitive and boring, but I sincerely believe that this kind of approach to training will pay of BIG dividends later when the competition block of our seasons starts!