Hey everyone - sorry this post is extremely late!
Day 30 (last Friday) was a weird day that ended with a "situation" that kept me from blogging about the practice until now.
The day was an "X-factor" day. We originally wanted to do short approach jumps with the kids, but rain/windy conditions kept us inside.
We started off with backward depth drops from soft plyo boxes as our X-factor jump-specific drill. This drill/jump in particular is one I chose due to how it positively effects ankles and helps them to become "stiffer".
This stiffness is most likely not what your're thinking - stiff ankles are good for jumpers. Immobile/inflexible ankles are not. Stiff ankles act as "springs" and are highly desirable to give athletes a better "pop".
When researching how to develop "stiff" ankles I found the backward depth drop and started using it this season on X-factor days.
Once we got through all stations (triple extension, agility, and sprint mechanics and "boom boom drills") the jumpers, other jumps coaches, and I worked on correcting some improper takeoff angles and landings.
We started out letting the kids know that a large number of them are taking off while leaning backwards. This backward lean is making things extremely difficult for them while in flight and when preparing for landings. When an athlete takes off leaning backwards he/she cannot get up to the desired height needed to maximize a jump. As well, it puts their body in a "negative angle" that is extremely hard to recover from. When this happens they generally don't land very well, and nearly always jump much shorter than desired.
To help them understand this we worked on "walking long jumps" and "walking triple jumps". Both can be found on the site.
These two drills are ones that I personally LOVE and use when athletes simply need to slow everything down to better understand the jumps. I've found that the lesser the speed the greater the learning. This is something all coaches should do if they hope to truly teach their athletes the "ins and outs" of the jumps and to help them with the small focuses (arms, posture, etc.).
After doing the walking drills we had them do jogging takeoffs as a way to connect the focuses.
Once those drills were properly connected, we had the athletes do the chair landing drill. We were able to take them through everything from the takeoff to the landing all while staying inside without an indoor pit, and very little "pounding" on their bodies.
This week (4/15 - 4/19) is spring break. A large majority of our team will leave on vacation, and will not be asked to attend practice. A lot of teams don't do this, but I've noticed some extremely positive impacts over the years.
This week is a great week of rejuvenation and recovery, and kids seem to always come back and compete at a higher level!
The kids that do come to practice and get to compete (at our two meets) have a unique opportunity to step up and show their talents with a smaller number of athletes present. It's a great way to identify "gamers" and to build confidence among some inexperienced athletes that wanted to stick around and get as much practice as possible.
Due to this being a week of recovery there will be less practices this week.
My blog posts will be "scattered" throughout the week because of this.