2019 was a year that had a great deal of ups and downs, but one I am exceptionally proud of.
Coming into the year I had a number of prospects I was extremely excited about.
1.) A junior (boy) that had jumped only a handful of times during his sophomore year and had already gone over 20 feet. We rested him last year due to his emergence in the high jump and because of depth (seven male athletes over 20'). The last thing we wanted was for him to get hurt (not great at landing) in the long jump as it would have effected other events greatly.
2.) A senior (boy) that had only jumped in a few meets but already had gone 21'5" in the long jump and nearly 40' in the triple.
3.) A senior (boy) that had jumped over 20' during his junior season with very little experience (and has since gotten a great deal faster/stronger).
4.) A senior (boy) that had worked his butt off to break 40' and had been one of our strongest leaders at the triple jump pits since first jumping during his freshman season.
5.) A senior (girl) I thought would break the school record in the long jump and be our first-ever 18' jumper.
6.) A sophomore girl that had gotten injured playing basketball her freshman season and had jumped nearly 32' with very little knowledge/experience.
7.) An incoming freshman that was (in my opinion) only one year away from being a state jumper.
8.) A sophomore (girl) that had jumped nearly 18' in the long jump over the summertime.
9.) A sophomore (girl) that I'd only jumped a handful of times during her freshman year and was excited to see what she could do.
10.) A heaping handful of up-and-coming young jumpers that were bound to make a significant gain in distance in both the long and triple jumps.
Of those (specific individuals - not including # 10) listed all except one were either injured, didn't come out, didn't jump due to some team dynamics/situations, and/or had personal issues that kept them from competing. The handful of jumpers listed in number ten did a great job, but they too dealt with injuries and other roadblocks that were hard to overcome in our small amount of time together.
When I look at that list it is staggering, overwhelming, and eye-opening. The old saying of "don't count your chickens before they hatch" was one that rang true this year!
I had so much excitement coming off of our HUGE year in 2018, and wanted to expand upon that year with another season full of statements and event-domination. Unfortunately though, that just didn't happen...
Instead, I had an extremely young group that produced these numbers:
In the boys long jump we had ten jumpers over 18' that included only two seniors.
In the boys triple jump we had three jumpers that were either completely new or had very little experience before the year go 40' (none of which graduated).
In the girls long jump we had a freshman that held the top spot all year, and a handful of young up-and-coming jumpers that could take a big step next year.
In the girls triple jump we had 3 girls that showed their true potential for future season (none of them graduated).
What rose from the ashes of a season in which I assumed we'd be extremely competitive and take numerous individuals to state, was a season full of young talent coming into their own. A season that makes you look at the future with true excitement and anticipation.
With that being said though, the realization that the expectations I had for this year may repeat themselves next year is one that will help me to approach next season in a level-headed way that I feel will only benefit our program moving forward.
To strengthen our program, to keep kids healthy, and to keep kids interested and motivated to come out for track every year, I created a new offseason strength and conditioning plan. This plan is one that I have worked on for some time now, and will be rolling out to my athletes after getting a few others (professionals) to look over it and give their opinions. I've had plans in the past, but I feel this new plan will greatly assist us to reach the goals we've set for ourselves as a jumps program.
As well, I've started to assess my various practice progressions and have changed a few things to better assist my jumpers next season (and beyond). I've already "tested out" some of these new additions/changes and have seen a great deal of growth in only a week's worth of time!
I had hoped that this reflection would have been done after the state meet, but unfortunately things simply didn't go as planned. Instead, the reflection process is already in full-swing for 2020 and numerous plans, ideas, and drills already being put into motion.
Instead of wasting time feeling bad about not having a jumper at state - I have gotten to work on building a stronger future. I recommend that all coaches and athletes in my same position do the same!
Last but definitely not least, I'd like to give a shout out to the seniors that are graduating this year. Our time together was something I cherished, and will fondly remember as long as I live. You were a group I trusted fullheartedly and one that I will sorely miss. Thank you so much for you dedications to the jumps program, thank you for your hard work and motivation, and thank you for being such amazing leaders. You left your mark and your legacy will never be forgotten. Now, go dominate the "real world!"
Good luck to everyone still competing/coaching!
Watch for updates on my book as I hope to get that published no later than late 2019.