With all the meets and days off during spring break I honestly have no clue what "day" we're on. So, from here out I'll be simply putting the date of the actual practice I'm blogging about.
Today's practice was a recovery-focused one. We wanted all of our athletes to be given ample time to recover after our meet on Monday. For some, Monday was their fist competition in nearly two weeks because of spring break. Those kids severely needed recovery as their bodies are still (once again) acclimating to competitions.
We started the day with an RPR session. The athletes chose to do it outside, which we've never done before. It was great! The temperature was just right. The smells of spring were present. The kids were focused even though outdoor noises and music from a soccer game were part of the experience. It was fun!
After that, I got together all jumpers and had a jumps team "talk". Here's what I covered, and suggest you do as well as your season gets closer to completion:
1.) Underclassmen need to continue to come out. During my 12 seasons there have been countless gifted jumpers not come out after their freshmen/sophomore/senior seasons; and it's extremely hard for me to see that talent go unused or unnoticed. I told the younger kids that they are more talented than they know, and could do some serious "damage" moving forward. The first step though, is continuing to dedicate themselves to the events and the sport of track and field. I also wanted them to know that the program is theirs to develop as they desire. The current seniors have done an amazing job building it up - now it's up to them.
2.) Spend time breaking down film! I take as much film as possible at every meet we have. After the meet is completed I upload the videos to my Google Drive account and spend roughly 30 minutes putting names on each video. I encourage kids to watch their own videos on a regular basis so that they are understanding what needs to be worked on moving forward. I reminded them today that they need to continue doing this - especially with the end of the season quickly approaching (JV kids are done in 2-3 weeks!).
3.) Finish strong! Now that the weather is starting to cooperate the kids need to take full advantage. Weather + End-Of-Season (should) = Big Performances. They need to fully understand though, that the lackadaisical/halfhearted practices and meets needs to end if they hope to be on a postseason roster. Anything can happen during this phase of our season! I've seen kids go from relative unknowns to state qualifiers in the last two weeks of a season. I told them that what they've done so far means nothing. I told them that it's what their about to do that makes the biggest difference. They seemed very focused and motivated which in-turn made me extremely excited for our next competition(s)!
Once we completed our discussion male athletes came with me to the pits, and female athletes went to the weight room.
While at the pits the athletes had three options (which I changed a little bit from yesterday's blog):
1.) Approaches. I only allowed kids that struggled during the meet to do them, and only allowed them to do 3-4 MAX. I did this because I wanted kids to truly recover.
2.) Chair landing drill.
3.) Jumping off boxes (no approach - just stand and pop) into a high jump mat with the towel swipe to help arms during flight and landing.
Once we were done with the drills, we had a little bit of time left - so I took them through a visualization drill I like to use.
I have them lay down, close their eyes, and try focus on my voice. From there, I tell them to envision everything I am say as though it is real. They should hear when they hit the board, the should feel the sand when they enter the pit. They should smell the popcorn smell from the concessions stand. They should make it as real as possible.
After that has been established, I talk them through the entirety of a jump and try to be as descriptive as possible in my wordings.
I talk them through they emotions they should feel. I talk them through how their heart rate should be. I talk them through what they should be specifically focused on.
In today's visualization I talked them through a PR jump that was called a "scratch". I told them once they realized they had scratched they needed to feel even more anticipation for the next jump. I told them to walk back (in their heads) to their mark and feel stronger and more determined than ever.
I then walked them through nearly the same scenario as before, but this time the jump was a "mark". I told them to exit the sandpit and watch as the tape measure was pulled farther then they've ever seen before. I told them to hear a realistic goal number being called out as their jump distance.
At this point I saw some smiles - it was great!
The session wasn't done though...
I then told them that the excitement and feeling of accomplishment they were feeling was great, but shouldn't be the end-all. They still had one more jump! I told them to walk back to their mark once again, knowing that a longer distance is attainable. I told them that when PRs happen, you have to set your sights on the next goal and not allow complacency to creep in.
The smiles grew even more!
I then had them slowly open their eyes and roll up off the ground. At that point I discussed the power of visualization and they were completely on board.
Approaches and short approach jumps with landings. Not too much pounding though, as we have two more meets this week (Thursday and Friday). The anticipation is killing me!!!