Today I started my day working with athletes new to the triple jump this year. I connected two of my foam roll out runways, and simply gave them 20 minutes of triple jump (on the runway) without the banana hurdles. Inexperienced athletes need to learn how to perform the jump without any hurdles for visual/physical cues. Many of them looked at me with uncertainty when I told them they'd be working without the hurdles, but I can pleasantly report they did wonderfully without them! The majority of them had issues with the first phase ranging from it being too high, too much leg movement (needs to be controlled), and too little distance. Overall though, all athletes showed great 2nd and 3rd phases in their work today! The "newbie" group as a whole is looking really good. The future looks bright in SP.
After triple jump I worked solely on approaches with athletes. I started with a very small group of athletes that are competing tomorrow in the WTFA meet at UW Whitewater. I had them each do 3-4 approaches and simply watched boards and gave small amounts of feedback. With one of my (generally) most consistent athletes I had to watch her first 5 steps (the drive phase) and give her a checkpoint to help her better understand what kind of turnover she needs to have in the first 5 steps to hit the board consistently. That "checkpoint" will be used tomorrow in the competition to ensure she hits the board and doesn't waste any of her jumps.
After that I worked with the rest of the jumpers in one large group - roughly 40 kids at once. I did this on purpose as I wanted to simulate what a real meet was going to look like when they get to experience their first competition this season. Our team is so large that the runways generally get clogged with countless jumpers. Due to this I teach my athletes the importance of being first in line, staying warm, and staying focused. Too often kids forget to stay focused on the event and begin to visit with one another. When this happens their minds wander and the focus is no longer on preparation but on (only) the moment at hand.
As well, we worked on the routine each of them needs to know when doing run throughs during the warm up period. Each athlete needs to raise an arm to communicate what foot they jump from (arm on side of jump leg) so that I know what foot to watch when approaching. There are too many athletes to keep track of all their jump feet so this makes things a great deal easier for me.
By the end of our session athletes were being quick about their approaches and were showing a general understanding of what a meet will look like once we finally get outside to compete. I was very happy with their hard work and concentration today!
WTFA meet - watch for a meet update tomorrow night.
My hope is that we will have at least one meet next week. If not, athletes will need to continue to work on takeoffs and landings. Approaches are pretty good at this point, so our focuses will now transition (mostly) to the proper takeoffs (both long and triple) and landings (both in the runway - triple jump, and in the pit).