Jumps Training: Introduction of some new Skills and Drills

NewsletterThis short video of my training group was taken on a Monday training evening. All the group had competed over the weekend….




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..

Speak with you soon,



Our New Drill

NewsletterOur New Drill: I’m always looking around for something new that will really complement my training programmes. Variety in your programmes will ensure that training units don’t become ‘stale’….

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!]

See the exercise below….

Burpee to Double Footed Bound over Box or Hurdle

Burpee to Double Footed Bound over Box or Hurdle

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 can envisage countless variations of this drill. Remember, as a coach, you are only limited by your own imagination…

I’ll film the initial results next week so you can see it in action..

Speak with you soon,



Training in the Competive Period [2]

Shaping the flight styleThis is a follow up blog on training during the competitive period. We’ve just completed a two week training block. There was a blank competitive weekend so we were able to train hard before the next competition.

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…

  • 10 x jump up to plyo platform [we utilized platforms of differing heights [60 – 90cms]. NOTE: After jumping up they then dropped down to the floor from the platform and landed in a squat position and immediately ‘freezing’ the landing and holding that shape for 3 seconds [isometric tension]…
  • 10 x jump up with drop down to IMMEDIATE rebound over a hurdle and still finishing in that isometric squat held position….
  • 10 x Double footed bounding utilizing three plyometric platforms [60/70/90cms]….

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.

  • We then concluded with a set of 3 fast runs over 150mts. Some of the group ran 200mts….

Here is the link to the previous article on training during the competitive season…


Speak with you soon,

All the best,



Over Complicating The Coaching Process..[2]

NewsletterOver complicating the coaching process with ‘modern jargon and technology’ along with unecessary drilled situations might hamper the teaching and learning process in the early stages of skilled learning.

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.

What ever happened to original thought?

The second quote says it all….

NOTE: If you have any thoughts, please email me and I’ll publish them in a forthcoming blog..


Coaching Junior AthletesAre we as coaches over complicating the coaching process. Are we guilty of making the events more complicated than they are?

I can’t help but notice, but many coaches I observe seem to be over complicating certain, if not, all athletic events. Because I coach in a crowded indoor environment, I come into direct contact with other groups and other coaches. I have noticed how many coaches utilize a massive array of very specific drilled situations to enhance [or indeed not enhance] the learning and coaching process.

Some of the events are not that complex… Continue reading

Competition Training Programme

What does the coach see?Competition Training Programme – Our competitive season has just started. Ahead of us are approximately 20 weeks of competition culminating in the National Championships in August – our Olympics..

There are a few weekends where there is no competition but it is a very busy period nonetheless. A few of my training group [I hasten to add, only a few!] assumed wrongly that training stops, and they just compete. How wrong can they be…..

I’ve just put in place our competition training programme that will run from now until the end of the season. Two x 2 hour sessions per week – approx 40 sessions which adds up to another 80 hours of training – mainly specific but enough volume and intensity to help maintain speed and strength levels built up through the long winter and spring training phases.

All the dirty work has been put in place. All the group have accrued decent levels of speed, strength and speed endurance, general and specific strength. But this doesn’t last for ever. For all those athletes who are of school age and study PE in schools to examination level, all are aware of the principles of training especially ‘reversibility’….

If you don’t keep on training, you lose it – it’s that simple…

You have to keep topping up all the levels of speed and strength.
I place great emphasis on the competition maintenance phase and give it great thought and application.

Because a lot of my athletes are in full-time education and have very important external examinations, this period can be very daunting for both athlete and coach. A balance has to be struck between volume and intensity. They have to revise and continue with essential course work, and it’s imperative that both coach and athlete[s] work closely together to ensure that the time spend training does not impinge on school work and exams.

We’ve done the volume. All the group have trained three times a week since last September and have built up good levels of the essential physical and technical components required for their event[s]. We now compete, but at the same time maintain these levels so that when they reach the ‘sharp end’ of the season they are still able to compete well…

So how do I structure my competition maintenance phase?

If they compete on a Saturday we train on a Monday and a Thursday. If they compete on a Sunday we train on a Tuesday and Thursday.

The Monday or Tuesday is where we train HARD. We include fast runs to start the session, a very specific plyometric session followed by another running session….

Thursday is our technical session coupled with very fast work….

Sometimes, if the weekend is free we will train on a Saturday morning and work on ‘the small things – the detail PLUS fast runs.

Below is just a sample of our training structure..

Monday/Tuesday: Strength + 90mt runs…

Competition warm up to include 6 acceleration runs to 60mts…

Speed/Reactive and Explosive Strength Session…

10 x Jumps Up to Platform + Jumps Down to Rebound…
6 x Jumps Down to Land + 1 hurdle…
6 x Hurdle Bounds [5 hurdles]
6 x Horizontal and vertical jumps over 6 hurdles…
3 x 10 x Jumps Squat with Med Ball…


6 x Runs to 90mts….with 4 minutes recovery…[once a week]

Thursday [Technical + Speed]

Runs to 60mts [acceleration runs]

*Hurdlers.. 4 x 6/7 hurdles with 5 minutes recovery…[once a week]…

Multi-Eventers [2/3 events]…

Long Jump/High Jump/Shot…[15 minutes on each working on detail but always practicing the event]. We work on essential improvement patterns in ALL technical events and always conclude with the whole event – normally 3-6 reps…

Speed: Fast runs to 60-80mts x 4 -6

As already stated, there will be training on the weekend when there is no competition…

The content will alter sporadically in order to maintain freshness…

Speak with you soon,

All the best,


Bounding and Plyometric Work

Nigel Lewis Dec 2014This is the 4th article taken from a Jumps Conference I organized way back in 2006 in Cardiff…

Notes taken from the presentation by John Crotty -[leading UKA horizontal jumps coach]…..




How often – There is a need for two sessions per week but the activities within are more specific to long jump. Specific bounding 4 bounds and a jump, HHHSJ etc is done at least once per week, run up strides are increased to fit in with time of the year but more specifically competition period. Endurance bounding features in the conditioning phase and may involve 100m bounding, 50m skipping, 50m hopping etc. For experienced athletes plyometric/depth jumping is done twice per week…

 Much of the list below will be with resistance but if resistance hampers good technique the resistance is removed or reduced.
 Bounding activities from 6-8 stride run-ups, particularly important to have approach strides commensurate with the period.
 Use of resistance, weighted jackets 10kg max, pulling sledges weights vary from 7kg to 20kg(women to men)-the is worked out by me assessing the effect on technique.
 In a speed gaining phase or closer to competition much of this bounding is timed.
 Bounding backwards
 Over hurdles both on the track and in sand (much safer) the emphasis here can be straight up or forwards and up with the hurdles further apart, speed of contact is always encouraged. Timed six hurdles 90cm, 2.50m apart , 5 seconds from the attempt at the first to landing from the last-male longer jumper 7.50/110kg clean
 Much of the hurdles work is double foot but we also hop over hurdles
 Depth jumping forms the start of our endurance bounding session-since the neuro-muscular system needs to be fresh for this elastic work.
 Single leg efforts follow double foot warm-ups; distance between boxes is an individual thing and is recorded by each athlete. .
 Activities are arranged to duplicate specific sections of LJ e.g. stepping down from a 40cm box (all are this height) to the ground onto the LJ leg and into the pit. Hopping down to the LJ leg When taught technique must be emphasised, at this time the boxes are very close together and reduced in height. Some activities have run-ups attached-I might add that only one athlete I have ever coached has run-up for more than 6 strides to a sequence of box-floor-box-pit. *I can’t stress enough that good technique is essential-this is not for the club athlete….
 Eccentric work is followed by concentric – this is the nature of take-off in LJ and TJ
 Part of the national squad biomechanics testing includes drop jumps, squat jumps and counter-movement jumps and the benefit of each to gain maximum power output

Speak with you all soon,


Running and Run Up Skills and Drills

DSCF2468 This blog is the THIRD in a series of technical articles taken from a Horizontal Jumps Workshop I organised way back in 2006 in Cardiff. John Crotty – one of the UK’s top jumps coaches outlined his views on the coaching of long jump…


Running and Run Up Skills and Drills…

How Often…….Run-up every week, sprinting every week, probably four running sessions per week, almost throughout the year.

  • As fast as you can…
  • Try not to use check or cues, run up is a perception…
  • Use visualisation to see yourself on the board…
  • Run up length to achieve maximum speed via maximum stride length, 18-20 strides for most world class LJ and TJ(with exception of Pedroso)30-35m women, 35-40m men…
  • Need to find a rhythm [check marks won’t help with this]…
  • Range of movement on to the take off board is crucial to penetration at take-off. Many athletes forgo range for leg cadence-wrong…
  • Emphasis in training on 11-6, 6-1m, 0.1m/sec can make a difference of between 6-12cms in long jump…
  • Length of the second and last stride are also crucial…

Reason for no jumping is mental(see article by Modern Athlete and Coach panel 1997: Can we reduce fouls in horizontal jumps)

Speak with you all soon,

All the very best, Nigel

Technical Training for the more experienced long jumper

DSCF2467This is the 2nd article taken from a Horizontal Jumps Conference I organised way back in 2006 in Cardiff.

John Crotty [at the time the UK Athletics National Event Coach for horizontal jumps] presented ‘his approach’ to coaching club and the more experienced horizontal jumpers.

This is how he would structure a technical jumps training programme for the more experienced horizontal jumper who has attained, or is on the verge of international honours…

Technical Training….the problem solving approach?

How Often – once per week, good conditions if possible, at a time when the jumper is most fresh i.e. after a rest day. Competitions decide the frequency of technical work in training.

 Long approach-e.q. minimum of 12 strides, this assumes that the technique is ‘good’
 Take off angles for men between 21-24 degrees (Pedroso 24.9(97) Lewis and Powell greater than 24 degrees, women between 18-22 degrees, Johannson 28 degrees?
 Limited sinking…
 Active take off…
 Reaching followed by backward and downward movement. Angle to the vertical 26 degrees to maximise vertical velocity, 70% eccentric, 30% concentric, max take off angle 140
 Jumps at speed over hurdles…
 Landing keep straight-tape used to focus on linear movement in the air and with the feet on landing…
 As with the club jumper, use of boxes to perfect technique…
 Free leg alignment at take off needs checking-view from the front…

NOTE: There has been research done on the use of ankle weights and vests to condition at take off. The research does not recommend this, and neither do I, since it changes the rhythm to the board and in most likely to encourage sinking prior to take off and sinking during the approach run.

Next Week…Skills and Drills, Running and Run Up….

Speak with you next week,

All the best,


Coaching Points..

Nigel Lewis Dec 2014Coaching Points – What do you say when you are attempting to highlight an important technical point. Are you able to express yourself succinctly? Are you able to find a novel way of putting your point across?


Sometimes a definitive technical description goes over the athletes head so you have to find a term, a word or a phrase that triggers understanding and ultimately improvement….

Personal Observation: Some younger, less experienced coaches aren’t able to express a technical point except for in it’s purest, complicated way. Because they don’t have differing points of technical reference due to lack of coaching experience they sometimes experience coaching and communication problems.

An anecdote – I once heard a very experienced sprints coach become very exasperated with a young male sprinter on a coaching weekend. The lad didn’t understand the technical nuances of the drill so the coach said ‘when you come off the bend give it some ‘welly’ and run like your backside is on fire’ – although he didn’t use the word backside!

The lad got the message and progress was made…

  • This past few weeks I’ve been working on the phases of the long jump that make up the total distance. The take-of distance, the flight distance and the landing distance…..

I’ve attacked this objective from many ways because my group members pick up skills and drills at different rates.

The group all know now that when I say ‘split and hold’ they drive from the board, attain good take-off leg extension and get a good wide SPLIT from the board with their lead thigh at the parallel. This they must hold for a short while…[I use the held-thigh drill for this]….

They all know what I mean by ‘go along for the ride’ when in the flight phase. They have to hold on to the flight shape a little longer. Don’t be in a hurry to land…

They all understand what I mean when I say ‘land to sit’. On the descent to the sand they have to bring both legs through from behind the hips as short levers dynamically, and try to get into a sitting position prior to landing. If they can do this you can then refine the ultimate landing position.

For this we’ve been utilising a large crash mat to land in a sitting position. They have to feel the movement before they can learn it…

Speak with all soon,


PS: What novel coaching points do you use use to highlight any technical issues?

Email me at…


The Held Thigh Drill

Hopping 1Like all coaches I have my favoured drills for long jump. I only use specific drills when required in the learning process…






The one below is near the top of my list. I call it the ‘held-thigh’ drill…..

Held Thigh 3From short approaches [6-10 strides] the jumper approaches the take-off board at speed and lifts from the board and gets into the shape seen above in the photograph.

This shape MUST be HELD for as long as possible. The lead thigh [non take-off leg] is driven to the parallel and kept there. The lower leg and foot should not be too far ahead of this lead knee…

The foot is placed in a dorsi-flexed position [toes to shin]…

The take-off leg which has been driven behind is kept for as long as possible. There also has to be extension of the take-off leg immediately on leaving the board…

The upper torso must be kept in an upright position and TENSION developed throughout the flight phase. Many younger jumpers take-off, and immediately lose body tension before the flight phase has even begun…

The jumper starts to come back towards the sand. Then, all he/she does is to drop the the lead leg foot to the sand, land on it and then ‘run-out’ up the sand by bringing the take-off leg through into a running stride….

My training groups do this drill regularly. You can go back to 12-14 strides so they get used to getting into this intial shape with added velocity. I sometimes refer to this drill as the SPLIT shape.

All jumpers need to get into this big split shape BEFORE moving in to their prefered in-flight style [hang/hitch-kick]…

If this initial shape is held for slightly longer a jumper could find an additional 30cm+. This is called the take-off distance…

I encourage my female jumpers to hang but to develop a SPLIT/HANG….

Speak with you soon,


Results from the Long Jumps at the European Indoor Athletics Champs in Prague..

The Indoor Athletics SeasonThe links to the results from the Men’s and Women’s long jump competitions at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague are below…







Speak with you soon,