The clean and jerk is one of the strength exercises my training group will be including in their next winters training programme…..
This is a very good video outlining the essentials of the technique….
All the best,
When athletes are in the younger age groupings, it is possible when a typical pentathlon consists of a long jump, a high jump, a hurdles race, a shot put and a distance run..
But when they move up the age groups and have to include javelin, more throwing events and pole vault then the difficulties arise…
It is easier to coach female heptathletes than male decathletes. Fewer events, with just the addition of the 200mts and javelin for females.
Two of my training group are competing in the AAA’s U17 heptathlon in August. Both have to include the javelin in their programme..
It is rare for a combined events coach to be able to offer ‘every’ event to a level which enables the athlete to compete successfully. So what do you do?
You invite yourself to other specialist coaches training sessions. I did this last evening when I took 3 athletes to a specialist javelin training session in Swansea.
You need all your multi-eventers to develop a sound technical model in all of the events they compete in. Although they are not event specialists per se, they still have to develop the specific event movement patterns that will enable them to run, jump and throw efficiently.
They found the javelin session very demanding but they all adapted and knuckled down. They were surrounded by more experienced throwers. They were able to observe, and take part with the javelin throwers warming up with medicine balls utilizing a ‘throwing wall’…
They found this demanding and sometimes quite scary, especially when a 4kg med ball was rebounding very quickly from the throwing wall.
Certain athletes learn more efficiently by watching..[I know my training group did].
Through the course of the 2 hour session they were immersed in ‘javelin speak’..
They were filmed throwing, and then able to see themselves throwing via a laptop screen. They were able to see the simple things they were doing wrongly. They all received feedback and explanation to take away with them.
In the coming weeks we will work together on specific technical issues and then ask to be invited to another training session.
In part 2 I shall deal with training the young combined eventer..
Yesterday I had 9 athletes involved in the National Age Group Championships in Cardiff. Because the whole U17 programme was contained within one day, it did present logistical problems. Many of my group were contesting several events so I had to be in many places at once…!
The weather was hot and sunny and for the first few hours I acquitted myself well BUT then problems arose. Disaster in the hurdles – tears, clash of events…athletes rushing from event to event/changes of footwear, self-doubt, fouls at the board, niggling injuries, anxious parents…and so it went on.
Started to feel the heat in more ways than one. But can’t be seen to be panicking!
Every athlete needed different types and forms of feedback. Really tested my 40+ years of coaching especially when I had 5 girls competing at the same time in the same event.
By the end of the day I had run and jumped every repetition with them…I was totally exhausted. Couldn’t even get to the toilet or eat or drink. Couldn’t sleep last night – running every event and athlete through my head..
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m sure I speak for ALL coaches on competition days..
It’s tough being an athlete but even harder being a coach..
Now on to the next competition…
PS: it was worth it because the training group won 5 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 bronze medals plus 6 personal best performances…
Take a look at the results from the Men’s Long Jump Final at the USA Athletic Trails…
Great depth of ability…
All the best,
Shara Proctor[GB] was 3rd with 6.72m; Tianna Bartoletta [USA] was 2nd with 6.89m and 1st with 6.92m was Christabel Nettey [Can] with 6.92m.
What I noticed was that Nettey was beginning to prepare for her landing just after the apex of her jump [the high point]whilst the other two left it a lot later in preparing to land. Notice that Nettey raised her thighs and knees that high that they appeared ABOVE the parabola [flight path]. She was then able to decend and hold this position thus ensuring her heels cut the sand and not DROPPING into the sand [I call this a splash landing]…
I’m sure that in due course Nettey will go beyond 7mts because of her earlier preparation for landing….
I encourage ALL my jumpers to prepare for landing slightly earlier rather than decending from the apex and leaving it too late. We use platforms to practice this thus ensuring that they have enough height….
But remember, this landing position is determined by what precedes it…
The approach run/the touchdown and the flight phase…
Too often the younger, less experienced jumper has made simple, basic errors in these phases…
Too long/too short/Too fast/too slow/wrong body angle at touchdown/no dynamic at take-off etc, etc…..
There are a myriad of reasons why the landing position is poor. A decent landing position can add 30cms to a jump….
That’s why ALL aspects of the whole jump have to be worked on.
Read previous blog on landing..
As a coach you need to really understand the mechanics that govern the decent to the sand. Assume the jumper has run in well, taken- off dynamically and held on to the flight phase – so far, so good.
The arms are kept above the head and slightly behind the shoulders. The head is up with eyes focussed on a point ahead.
The jumper now brings the two bent legs from behind the hips very quickly as short, fast levers. The arms ARE NOT required yet until the legs have come from behind to the front. The jumper must attempt to get into a ‘pike shape’…
Only when the legs have come through to the front does the jumper drive the chest to the thighs and the arms to almost touch the toes….
This landing position has to be practiced. I use a very low platform [10cms] to practice landings. We can do upwards of 20 such landings in a technical session…
What are we doing this evening [Thursday June 4th]. Last evening some of the group competed in an Open Sprints Competition. Races seeded on times not age groups. It worked well…
Several personal best performances from those members of the group who chose to compete…
The group are not competing this weekend, so we’ve time to fit in several key technical elements. We trained on Monday, Thursday [tonight] and will train this coming Saturday morning…
Tonight we are doing a Med Ball Circuit for upper body and a plyometric element to help develop eccentric strength in the lower torso PLUS a set of longer runs, probably 4 x 150mts…
On Saturday we can devote more time to the technical aspects. Because some of the group are combined eventers it will allow me valuable time to take a look at several technical issues in 2/3 events..
The hurdlers will do 5 x 8 hurdles with a 5 minute recovery between repetitions..
The long jumpers will work on those all important 6 strides to the board..
The shot putters will work on ‘snapping’ the leg under the hip in the middle of the circle…
The high jumpers will work on ‘smoothing’ out the approach run to the bar along with that lean in….
Just started development work on the javelin.
Two of the group are preparing for their first heptathlon and have to add a 200mts and javelin to their repertoire of technical events…
And so it goes on, and on….
What exactly do I mean?
We are training hard at the moment. The competitive season is in full swing but we still have to train hard. A lot of the group are also attempting to manage a very difficult revision and examination period as well as train and compete..
Some are eating badly and indeed some are skipping meals. They are training hard but fuel stores have dropped to a minimum by the time we are half-way through the session some of the group are looking very tired and on some occasions have to drop out of the session.
This prompted me to seek expert advice from a lot of reliable sources.
Below are a just a few suggestions on what they could eat BEFORE they attend a training session. I also gave the group [and their parents] some ideas of what to eat and drink post-training..[next blog]
Of course, there are hundreds of different foods and combinations to eat before you train. But it is so important that you encourage your athletes to ‘fuel up’ correctly before they train…
I shall continue to monitor my training group throughout the summer months.
We are in our summer competition maintenance training phase so we tend to have the ‘hard’ session early week and the technical session 2 days prior to the next competition.
What you see is a warm up, an introductory speed session followed by a plyometric segement. We are developing a new drill, so what you observe is their first attempt at a series of new movement patterns.
We developed the drill plus it’s refinements as we went along. When you devise new drills you’re never quite sure how they will look when first practiced. We will include elements of this drill throughout the summer competitive season…
I could have edited out some of the ‘mistakes’ but chose not to….!!
Before each ‘shot’ there was an element of teaching before we filmed for real….
NOTE: You will notice that some group members adapted very well, whilst others will take another few sessions before they ‘get it’…..
I like to make them think during a session..
BUT it has to suit my training needs and the groups needs…
My son-in-law owns several gymnasiums in the Ascot and Windsor area and he subscribes to all the relevant trade magazines. I spotted this one a few days ago which I intend to ‘refine and amend’ so that it it will dovetail into my programme.
It’s a burpee – which we all know is a very explosive body weight circuit exercise. But on completion of the movement, it is coupled with a double footed explosive and reactive vertical impulse over a box or hurdle….
I haven’t tried it yet, so my group will be ‘willing’ guinea pigs next week…..[I can hear them groaning now!]
Technique is so important when performing this drill [as it is for most drills], so there will be a short teaching phase before it’s put into our summer strength programme.
I need them all to perform the burpee correctly. From a stand, crouch down, place the hands on the floor – shoulder width apart, and explosively drive both the legs backwards – and then draw them back quickly and position them between where the hands are postioned and DRIVE explosively up and over the box or platform. I’ll probably use a low hurdle at first then experiment with the height of the hurdle in order to accomodate every group member. Different heights for different athletes…..
I might even ask them to complete the burpee first, land after the vertical impulse – and then drive up quickly over the box or hurdle.
I’ll film the initial results next week so you can see it in action..
The hard session is done early week where we strive to maintain general and specific strength and endurance levels, and the technical session two days before the weekend competition. This technical session also has a specific speed session attached…..[runway/blocks/accelerations to 10/20m etc]……
Last evenings session….
Competition warm up….[followed by]….
5 acceleration runs to 60mts – with good recoveries. Emphasis on ‘how you run’. Lot of individual athlete feedback.
Specific strength section – with plyometric bias…
NOTE 1: The emphasis was on flat-footed landings, upright upper torso, no excessive angle behind the knees. The emphasis is on speed and quickness. We worked on the premise of ‘load it – use it’….
NOTE 2: I’m not a quantity and volume man. We look to complete about 100 fast, dynamic contacts in the plyometric segment.
Here is the link to the previous article on training during the competitive season…
I expanded on this topic in my last blog. Coincidently, I read a few quotes and articles since writing it and I include some of the quotes below….
Never confuse education with having the ability to coach. Takes more than a few degrees to make you a good communicator….
My observations suggest that the new breed of younger coach and those ‘older coaches’ who present themselves at athletic workshops and go back to their coaching groups ‘armed’ with the latest sound bites and drills are hampering the development of their coaching group.
The second quote says it all….