Today was another great day to be a coach on the Sun Prairie track and field team!
We started the day working on sprint form. This is the first time in several years that our head coach has decided to work with the sprints group, and it has been wonderful
having him back at that position! His knowledge and experience of the sprints used to be a very vital piece of our program but he had to step away from coaching so he could focus all of his attention on running our (extremely large) team. Our sprint coaches over the years have been wonderful, but Doug brings a new perspective and the collaboration that is happening between him and our other sprint coach (Coach Boberg) has been really fun to watch!
On a side note - the drills you see the sprinters doing here are from Tony Holler out of Plainfield, Illinois. If you've never heard of him CHECK HIM OUT TODAY!
After the sprinters went through the various drills focused on form, I got to work with my inexperienced jumpers. My original plan was to work on getting a "rough" approach number for them, but after all the work they did with the sprint coaches I didn't see that to be beneficial.
I say this because I want my kids fairly "fresh" when trying to find approach numbers so early in the season. When they are tired their form breaks down, and the mechanics needed to perform a sound approach simply aren't there.
Instead, we worked on the proper (long jump) takeoff at very low speeds. This is a big point of discussion among coaches, and is something I feel most of the WORLD simply gets wrong when it comes to the long jump. I know that may sound somewhat cocky of me to say - how would someone that coaches on a high school team know more about jumping properly than the world (?), but if you go and watch videos on YouTube, Instagram, or any other social media platform you'll see that I'm correct.
Athletes tend to hit the board with their bodies performing a backwards lean. When this happens they inadvertently lose speed and cannot engage their hip explosiveness as properly as they're able to. The last two steps should be very quick, performed flat footed, and should be done more "under" the athlete to preserve speed.
If you go to YouTube and find videos of people jumping incredibly high heights (garden shed, pallet of salt bags, etc.) you'll notice they all take enormous last steps. This is because they don't necessarily want their motion to continue forward as much as they want to be explosive in a vertical manner. This is opposite of what a long jumper must aim to accomplish. For that reason, the last step should NOT be long.
So, I took my athletes to an area in our school and worked on the flat footed contacts at very low speeds to help their bodies understand the proper mechanics necessary. As this was happening I explained a great deal to them on WHY the feet need to be flat footed in the last two contacts, and WHY they will not jump their potential if done incorrectly. The kids did a great job not only performing the movements, but also absorbing all the information that was given to them.
Triple jumpers will get in another session this week, the whole team will have another X-factor day, the whole team will work on mental and physical strength. No jumping for the long jumpers today. A "rest" day as far as long jump specific information, but they'll still get a lot for work done during my X-factor drill!