Today's practice was originally scheduled to be field-event-only practice with a presentation on proper health and nutrition to finalize our day together. Unfortunately, the presenter fell ill today and was unable to make it to practice.
Instead, we had an extended field event time, some sprint technique work, and a weight room session.
During the field event time I introduced my athletes to our new warm up routine. This year's routine is all about three phases of specified focuses to properly prepare for practice and meets. The first phase is all about raising one's body temperature and increasing heart rate. Getting "sweaty" during this phase is a big focus as to properly prepare the body to compete.
The introduction to this phase took quite awhile due to our larger numbers, but the kids did great! Most of the movements and overall control was quite impressive considering it was day one of performing the "jumpers warm up."
Once the kids were warmed up we transitioned to my new bounding progression. In the offseason I came to realize that I've been too fearful to push my athletes in the area of plyometrics/bounding. I have coached to avoid injury instead of helping athletes build a proper foundation and strength. Due to this, I created the progression during this past offseason, and was unsure what exactly to expect. We've done explosive movements before, but we've never followed a progression of explosive movements that involve difficult movements like bounding. I was unsure how it would go, but felt extremely happy about the results observed!
Kids were being explosive, showed a great deal of control, most had good posture, and kids didn't seem as though they were confused or "hurting" afterwards. They seemed energized and capable. It was great to be around!
We still need to work on some things, but today was nothing more than simple exposure and routine building. To that extent, the day was an amazing success!
After that we had more time than I had planned for (which I'll never complain about!). So, we went to our school's "wrestling room" where our team starts every day, and introduced the athletes to longandtriple.com. I showed them how to find visuals of both the long and triple jumps, discussed breaking down video, and talked at length about mental strength.
My veteran jumpers understand these various topics, but a yearly reminder is a great way to help them properly acclimate to my expectations once again. As well, it's a great way to set the tone with the new jumpers and show them what we're all about. This is most likely the first time they've heard a coach discuss the importance of watching video, were told about the strength of mental preparation, and were shown a resource that could answer most questions without the need to actively research on their own.
Once again, we had more time than I had planned for so we worked on explosive starts. The athletes focused on exploding from the crouch start with proper form and progressive head/chest raising. The athletes looked FAST and explosive! It was quite fun to see them being so aggressive. The next step is to help them understand that aggressiveness even more by resisting them with bands as a way to help with consistent explosiveness and endurance.
When done, the athletes worked with the sprint coach on wickets and the "boom boom" drill. Both are great in teaching proper technique and timing.
Lastly, they had a weight room session that included injury prevention lifts. These lifts were amazing to witness and something I feel will greatly reduce shin splint issues and/or injury related to track and field. The weight room is an essential piece of our daily practice plans and should be considered by all programs. Many think that track and field athletes don't need weight room session; but I can promise this is untrue!
If you are looking for any resources to use in the weight room, please refer to the offseason training page under the Training Suggestions tab on longandtriple.com. The information can be used to plan a modified in-season program to properly prepare for the postseason phase.
We will be working on the consistency and explosiveness of the start. If an athlete can be consistent in the first 5 steps the chance they will hit the board dramatically increases. As well, we will be working on the hop phase and "controlled approaches" in the triple jump. Check back tomorrow for additional information!