We were supposed to have a meet today but it was cancelled due to weather. Instead, we had a "lactate day" at practice in an attempt to replicate lactate buildup that would occur in their legs during an actual meet.
To start practice I worked with JV triple jumpers on the same focus that I discussed with my veteran jumpers yesterday - keeping speed through the phases. I did this differently than yesterday though because I wanted to introduce them to drills that are easier on their legs. With them being newer jumpers I've already pushed them hard enough, and now I need to back it off a little to preserve their legs. Veteran jumpers' legs are much more used to the demands of the jumps than the newer jumpers!
Yesterday we worked on keeping speed but used skipping for distance, skipping for height, and bounding. The drills are amazing in the fact that they truly teach the proper leg movements and foot contacts needed to keep speed. For the newer jumpers today though I used a different drill that I feel is easier on legs and a better foundational drill to help younger athletes. The athletes were asked to go over a banana hurdle for the first phase (like usual), but were told to sprint upon their landing. When we sprint our leg motions are very similar to what triple jumpers must do to keep speed through the entirety of the jump. As they learned the rhythm of holding the phases the proper amount of time to ensure a proper foot contact (for sprinting) their speed greatly changed!
Next, I had them do the same thing but with doing the second phase (a up-and-out bound) over a hurdle and sprinting upon landing. Too often athletes lose speed between the 2nd and 3rd phases because it can be extremely difficult to pull off the proper 2nd phase and still keep speed. I tell my athletes that the 2nd phase is much like a long jump, but when have we ever had long jumpers jump and need to worry about keeping speed and jumping again? Never. Long jumpers simply jump and land. That's it. Again, as they continued with the drill I saw a great deal of "light bulbs" going off and much better speed!
After these two drills were completed I put out three banana hurdles (aggressively spaced) and had them perform a large number of triple jumps with the focus still being on aggressive foot contacts to keep speed. They did VERY WELL with this, and I feel many of them took a big step today in understanding the speed of the event!
Once triple was done all sprints (jumpers included) headed to the pool for a plyometric and sprint workout that was extremely taxing, technical, and fun. The kids did a great job and worked very hard!
After sprints, during the daily jump block, I worked with my jumpers on landings. We did the chair landing for 30 minutes straight. During this session I had to remind the jumpers to be precise in their movements and actions. Even when we do drills (like this one) for long periods of time and things seem repetitive/boring they need to make everything is done with purpose to best help their muscle memory and rhythm. If they simply go through the motions there will be no benefit to the drill whatsoever.
We don't have a huge number of drills by design. I don't want to overwhelm my athletes and want to keep things simple. Due to this, the athletes will be asked to do some drills a great deal of times and may become less focused in the proper movements. If you are like me make sure to communicate precision as often as possible to your athletes!
Tomorrow is a recovery day. We are going to be going over video breakdowns and kids will be asked to watch videos that haven't been broken down to see if they recognize what is done properly and/or improperly. This has been done in many other sports for years, but is greatly ignored in sports like track and field. I highly recommend having breakdown days on a regular basis with your athletes!!!
Here is the link to my breakdown folder on Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzZaBO9eKpDAYVdVYXZabDNveXc?usp=sharing
I haven't added videos from this year yet, but you are more than welcome to check it out!