Tonight's practice was another X-factor day. So, in light of that I decided to work with triple jumpers again today. The first thing we did was work on "baby bounding". Basically it's bounding but with very little emphasis on height or explosiveness. The foot contacts are what are most important, and something I realized after Saturday that we need to work on more. Too often kids come down on their toes in the triple jump and this either leads to a great loss in speed and/or an injury. I recorded everyone's baby bounds and discussed how some were doing the correct flat-footed contact and how others were putting too much focus on toe-first landings. We have a long way to go, but overall I think they did a great job at better understanding what needs to happen - now it's all about getting them to perform it properly in a competition.
Next was our X-factor focused workouts. Our stations were: wicket form running with PVC piping above the heads, "Superman" takeoffs from the blocks into a high jump mat, a star agility drill, and (my drill) a depth jump from either a 12" or 18" box with sprinting upon landing.
I really loved all the various drills we did today!
My drill was chosen for a number of reasons. First off, the amount of force athletes put into the ground while sprinting is incredibly large. To train them how to do this, depth jumps/drops can be utilized. I made sure that they fell forward with different legs each time to ensure that both feet/legs were being equally worked. Second, if the athletes didn't utilize proper arm and leg connections off the box they wouldn't experience the burst needed to perform the drill. Teaching kids how to properly use their arms and legs in unison is a big deal at the early ages. Once those connections are made they begin to truly understand how to use their whole body in sprinting and jumping to maximize efforts. Third, we are doing a depth jump with a standing long jump competition next week and I wanted the kids to understand how to be explosive after dropping down off of a box.
After our X-factor work was done our kids were split into two groups: beginners and veterans. The beginners stayed with me and the other jumps coach (Cross), and the veterans went to the weight room.
We worked on landings again today, but this time did it into a high jump mat.
There is a lot going on in this drill. First, athletes needed to learn how to properly use the box for the flat-footed contact at takeoff. Once they got used to that, they focused on the knee and arm drives that need to happen at takeoff. If you look at the pictures I've included you'll see that some understand how to use their arms properly and some don't. I wasn't too worried about the arms tonight, and will focus on that more at a different time. Once the knee hold was good, I had kids land in the pit "athletically" with an upright chest in a squat type stance. This was testing their upper body control and watching for over-rotation. If kids couldn't land in the squat, they were doing something wrong while in air. Lastly, we had kids put it all together and land on their bottoms in the pit. What was amazing was that many of the beginners were starting to show proper arm rotations without even being taught them yet!
Overall I thought the kids did a GREAT job tonight!
Another speed day, so we'll be focusing on approaches!