I’ve just read an article on the problems of the development of spatial awareness and how coaches use an assortment of visual stimuli to help in this process. I’m sure as jumps coaches you have jumpers who find the board with amazing regularity and jumpers who are ‘serial foulers’….
But are those jumpers who rarely foul compromising their speed to the board in those vital last six strides to the board – and that’s the reason they don’t foul that much?
I work very hard with every horizontal jumper in my training group on the development of spatial awareness. The times I’ve stated that the runway approach is a complex, serial skill. It’s a component of the event that does require special attention.
Last week I handed over to the group the total responsibility for their own approach run. It’s like a fingerprint – no other jumper has an approach run that is totally identical to someone else’s. We’ve all done enough work on this aspect these past years and they all have a good understanding on the structure and dynamics of runway running…
Since I’ve done this, I’ve noticed a real determination to succeed We start the runway approaches right away and I ask them to do a minimum of 10 approach runs each week. So by next March they will have completed at least 240. I told them in no uncertain terms that if the foul a lot next year then it’s not MY fault [tongue in cheek]….
BUT FIRST: they have to find a tempo and a runway rhythm that suits them. Do they start slowly and progressively get quicker in order to find that absolute optimal speed to effect a good take-off; do they accelerate quickly then maintain that speed in the middle third and then accelerate to the board; or do they start fast and stay fast…there are so many ways of arriving at the board.
Have you ever thought that they might have the wrong tempo and rhythm. You have to play around with all manner of types of approach run. This might cure the problem of fouling straight away…!!
Randy Huntington [coach to Mike Powell] likens the approach run to a dance. Every stride is choreographed carefully….you must then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE…
I’ve been using coloured cones, water bottles and whatever I fancy to help jumpers focus on running to the board for many a year. This ability to evaluate speed, time and space is vital in order to place that take-off foot accurately on the board.
I sometimes organize sessions where I place start markers down randomly at the side of the runway and they have to run to the board, adjust early and place the take-off foot on the board and jump….
They actually enjoy this type of technical session.
If you google ‘what is spatial awareness’ it throws up quite a mixed bag of definitions and explanations…
Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of oneself in space. It is an organised knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in that given space. Spatial awareness also involves understanding the relationship of these objects when there is a change of position.
Generally speaking, spatial awareness is the recognition of the distance between objects. More specifically, though, the term refers to a person’s ability to judge where they are in relation to the objects around them.
SPEAK WITH YOU SOON…