Last night's practice was potentially our best one of the season from a jumping standpoint. The kids brought an intensity that I'm unsure we've seen thus far, and I think it had a lot to do with what we discussed prior to practice - COVID-19. We talked to the athletes about using practice as a time to "escape" all that is going on around them. A time to let go of issues with family, issues with friends or significant others, time to relax and have fun, and a time to forget about the craziness of what's happening in the news. Once we had a calm, collected talk with them they seemed to relax a little bit.
Even though high school students are well-informed about nearly all that goes on in our world, they generally don't have some of the proper techniques to deal with said information/issues. Having an adult (Doug the head coach) calmly discuss our current understanding of the situation, and how to use practice as an escape was essential for our athletes. You could literally feel their appreciation afterwards.
That appreciation was shown in the intensity in which they practiced.
Right after his discussion I had all triple jumpers come down to the field house to start working on phase work. The hop phase was a big component of our time together, but I transitioned to the hop-to-step connection due to everyone making noticeable improvements on the hop phase. Here's a video I took last night:
The movements are perfect, but with it being the first time we worked on these specific focuses I wasn't aiming for perfection. The athletes were inconsistent, but after this video was taken, were much better in asking questions and figuring our proper rotation(s), intensity, and arm movements.
After that was done I had three more blocks of work with my athletes - a long jump session with our male jumpers, a weight room session with all of our jumpers, and a long jump session with our girl long jumpers to finish the day.
During the long jump sessions kids started with explosive starts work. Here's a video:
Again, this isn't the greatest representation of the overall focuses (I would have liked a better crouch start at the beginning and more turnover throughout) but shows what we were working on. After this video, I instructed these athletes on how to improve and they did a wonderful job in doing what I directed them to.
After about 10 a piece, athletes were told to partner up and perform the "5 step cone" drill. This is where you watch to see where their 5th step hits out of the start to see if they can be consistent. My belief is that if an athlete can hit the 5 step consistently, they'll have a much higher percentage of boards in competition.
They did GREAT with this!
We finished our time together discussing how important every little inch is in the long and triple jumps. The necessity of hitting that cone is absolute. Inches behind or over could mean a scratch...
This is a drill that takes a great deal of time and dedication to build consistency and routine-based movements, but is worth every second. The logistics of it are a little hard to explain, but hopefully the overall message is understood.
Once done with the boy long jumpers we had another AMAZING weight room session! Coach Kaminski (the head football coach and our weight room coach) has done amazing work creating workouts and collaborating with others in an attempt to best help our athletes improve, avoid injury, and build stable bodies that will undoubtedly peak at the right time of season. Of all the things that we've done this season, this may be my favorite new addition to our practice plans - the jumps coaching staff being in the weight room during strength and conditioning sessions. I've already learned so much!
I will update you on this as the season continues, and will reach out to the person he got his programming from to see if I'd be able to share more information. Stay tuned as it's a game changer in my opinion (8 out of 15 vertical jump records broken in our school this year!).
No practice. Orignially we were going to only have time for team pictures and the kickoff to our yearly fundraiser. We decided to cancel and give kids some time to relax and recover from a hard week one (physically and emotionally).