Today was supposed to be all about approaches and takeoffs. Instead, I decided to work on approaches and landing work. Some of my veteran jumpers that are competing tomorrow wanted to do some quick brush up work on their landing mechanics. So, instead of having some jumpers do landings and others do takeoffs I decided to work on landings with everyone.
Landings in March can be difficult in Wisconsin because jumping into a frozen pile of sand (most likely) doesn't feel very good. Instead of teaching it the traditional way I teach them using a chair. I know it sounds somewhat goofy at first, but the "chair drill" is my all-time favorite landing drill due to it's technical applications and low "pounding" on the athlete's body.
My first group of jumpers today were the JV athletes. This group was composed of jumpers that have little/no experience, to jumpers that are knowledgeable but haven't yet cracked that "varsity barrier". To start my teaching of the proper landing I introduced the athletes to the "walking long jump" drill. In this drill the athletes need to perform a standing takeoff (knee up, toes up, and arm up). Once they perform the takeoff, they need to make the proper arm movements to eventually perform the arm sweep that needs to occur just before landing. The drill is great in teaching them the proper movements that need to occur while performing the long jump. It's such as fast paced event that sometimes all it takes is a split second of improper movements to mess it all up. This isn't something I currently have video of, but will try to get a video next week.
Once this group showed me they understood the walking long jump, I transitioned them to the chair landing drill (video above). This is my absolute FAVORITE landing drill, and one I highly recommend to ALL coaches (not just the ones with frozen sand pits). The technical aspects of this drill are fantastic and the athletes generally learn so much from it without the need of landing in a pit (which can sometimes hurt).
When my time with JV jumpers were done they transitioned to either the weight room or sprint mechanic work with the sprints coach. At that time, varsity athletes came to me and we worked on (mostly) approaches with some landing work. The kids competing tomorrow finalized their approach numbers and are ready to go tomorrow! I can't even tell you how excited I am for tomorrow's meet!
Check back tomorrow night for updates on how the jumpers performed!
I haven't formally planned anything just yet, but my goal for next week is to finalize EVERYONE'S approaches. I generally don't make approach work a big deal the first couple of weeks because of the cold weather. In a warmer state I'd be doing approach work every day at this point in the year. With the cold weather though, it can be risky to push them too hard outside with the possibility of muscle fatigue/injury. Beyond the approach numbers for everyone (long jumpers) we will continue our explosive work with box jumps, flat-flat movements, and some more landing work. As for triple jumpers we will continue to connect our phases and focus on making sure the speed is there throughout the entirety of the jump. This is a BIG deal in triple jump, so focusing on that now will be crucial as the competition part of our season inches closer.