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Meet Routines

Some coaches have asked me what my "routines" are in preparing for a meet, and once I arrive at a meet. So, instead of continuing to send out individual emails I thought I'd write a blog about it! Here are the general things I do before, during, and even after a meet.

1.) Lineups - we have a large number of athletes on our team so lineups are both easy AND hard. They easy part of it is filling the spots. There's always enough athletes to fill the spots needed for any given meet. The hard thing about it is knowing where all athletes are going to go, so you don't double book them and/or overwork them. The staff I work with has become pretty good at communicating plans involving shared athletes so I feel very fortunate about that! Lineups can still be a very tricky event though. If you've ever experienced lineup "craziness" or disagreements remember that jumpers are sprinters FIRST and that the betterment of the team trumps your desire to see the jumpers jump.

2.) The day of the meet I print out the lineups, check to see who is jumping first, and get all necessary materials together (tape measures, stakes for marks, tape for marks in case there's no grass near the runway, chalk for marks in case it's raining, and warm up and cool down cards).

3.) When I arrive at the meet I make sure to communicate who is jumping first so that they know to meet me for our jumper's warm up right after our whole-team (jogging) lap and "Card Jacks" (jumping jacks while spelling "Cardinals" - great way to start AND finish as a team). While they are doing this I set up my tape measures by using one of the stakes to anchor it at the board while I pull it back for the athletes to use. Once they arrive I instruct them to get their marks down and begin the warm up process. Once all marks are down I roll up the tape measures and wait for their run-throughs.

4.) During run-throughs I will move kids as needed, but there are a few things I'd like to point out about moving athletes at meets. If I move an athlete I will do so by instructing them how much to move using their shoe size as the baseline. For instance, if an athlete is a little over the board, I might tell them to move back 1/2 shoe. By using their shoe size as the measurement they aren't scrambling to find a measurement in inches (which is generally impossible since the tape measures are rolled up).

5.) Run-throughs continued - if you notice that an athlete continually struggles to hit the board don't continue to move them. You need to count their steps to make sure they are still at the predetermined number of steps and haven't accidentally added more, and that they are performing the start (drive phase) properly. These two factors make up 90+% of scratches!

6.) During competition I generally record as many jumps as possible, but try to focus my attention on coaching the kids first before anything else. If I have the time to record them, I generally don't show them unless they request to see it due to the large number of jumpers we have at most meets. Instead, I give them one thing to focus on after each jump verbally and break down film later for them to see what they did well or need to work on. Film is crucial to our jumping program because it drives what athletes do at practice starting in the 2nd month of practice.

7.) I would suggest having a list of all competitors during the competition so you can write little notes in regards to what they need to work on. This way, you can give simple instructions on where athletes should be going during practice times. I haven't done this as consistently as I hoped this year, but this will be my main method of keeping track of progress as the year continues.

8.) After the meet I search out athletes to discuss things I noticed or to show them film they haven't yet seen. I generally have to pick up their stakes and make sure all materials are back in our "jumpers bucket" (there's no denying high school kids are forgetful).

9.) When I get home I upload all videos to a Google Drive folder and share with all jumpers. This only happens the first month of practice to set a strong understanding of jumps early on, but fades as the year continues because I don't want kids relying too heavily on film. The first month is all about learning, and the months that follows are all about doing/performing.

10.) If I break down film it is generally the varsity kids only. With so many kids it would be impossible for me to break everyone's film down. There's a reason they're varsity, and I strongly suggest that JV kids watch their videos to see what it's going to take to beat them and "steal" a varsity spot. This has worked very well for underclassmen over the years, and will be the way that I continue to help my kids visually moving forward.

There are so many other things you can do to prepare for a meet (mental preparation drills, stretches when on a bus, etc.) but these 10 things are my "everyday" meet routines. If you have any questions or even suggestions about my routine please let me know!

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