I seem to have trouble taking photos and video during an exciting triple jump competition. As it turns out, I didn’t get a good shot of the Champion in the Women’s triple because I was too busy watching how beautifully she jumped…
In Japan watching the first day of the events. Unfortunately, the focus is not on the field events. I move to Korea today! More comments to follow!
I’ve decided that jumpers don’t understand the importance of being coordinated. Jumping takes coordination so we have to practice coordination drills if we ever want to be better. When I was young we used to practice rubbing our belly and patting our head at the same time. It was a difficult thing to master but I did it. When warming up a series of coordination drills should be added to the plan. Learning more about the control of ones body will certainly aid in improving ones ability to triple, long and high jump.
Recently, I competed in the Masters World Championships in Sacramento, California. It was held on the campus of Sacramento State University. Last year I competed in a similar event on the same track. Last year I finished with two silver medals, in the high jump and the long jump. I was entered in the triple but injured my hamstring in the long jump and couldn’t jump.
This year I finished second in the high jump with a result that was a bit disappointing because I usually make the winning height without a problem, must be my age…. Anyway, I felt pretty good going into the triple jump. I warmed-up well and had a great warm up jump over forty-two feet. When I hopped out of the pit I was excited because that would certainly win the competition. In fact, I jokingly told the officials to mark it. Little did I know that would be my last good jump of the evening.
I walked back to the end of the runway and felt a sting in my hamstring. I thought I had been stung by something. Unfortunately, it was the first sign of a tear in my hamstring, the same place as the year before. I was shocked and devastated. I didn’t know what to do and almost panicked. I was the first jumper and the event was about to start. I calmed down and began to think back through my years of experiences to see if there was a way to continue on. First, I had to bide some time so I called for the trainers to come and wrap it. I hoped the compression would help keep it from preventing me from running. The judge allowed me to get wrapped before jumping.
On my first attempt, I ran about 6 strides slowly and knew I was in trouble because the leg started to really hurt. I jumped anyway and didn’t make the pit, big problem! I went back and sat down, depressed and confused. Fortunately, my competitors, friends and family came to my rescue. First, all the guys competing with me came over and gave me words of encouragement. Second, the Masters Public Relations Director, Bob Weiner, suggested that I continue to jump from a short run. At first I thought he was saying that to keep me around for the media but after a second I thought he was right, I need to compete!
My best friend John came all the way from Los Angeles to see my jump. My friend, Andre Phillips, the 1988 Olympic 400 meter hurdle champion came 2.5 hours as well. Many people in the stands had come out to see me jump and I couldn’t let them down. My wife, poor thing, was sitting in the stands with a look of concern on her face because she knew I was in trouble. At that moment, Al Joyner, the 1984 Olympic triple jump champion came from the stands and gave me some advice on how to get through the jump. He saw that I was able to move my hips but I wasn’t getting in the right position to move the hips forward. He also started doing what Al is famous for, getting me enjoying myself. With Al there, it made it fun, regardless of the pain or the pressure. I started to get a little confidence back.
So, I started my comeback. I needed to get to the finals so I shortened my run to eight strides and finally got a jump long enough to make the finals; three more jumps. My fourth jump was not as painful but I didn’t improve much. If I was going to get in contention I needed to jump over 39 feet, something I felt confident I could do from a short run. Al noticed that I was jumping fine on my opposite leg. We came up with the great idea of me jumping with the opposite leg, yeah! On my fifth jump I decided to try it. I ran down and took a big hop, bigger step, but then I kept hopping into the pit…I forgot to put the right foot down for the jump…foul! That was stupid, but funny!
On the sixth and last jump I had decided to go all out regardless of the pain. Al was great, keeping me laughing, the crowded started the “clap” and my wife sweetly sent me a smile from the stands. I lined up and my competitors joined in the clap. I ran down the runway took a hop, step and jump to land over 40 feet (12m31, 40’4-3/4”) to move into first place by about a foot! It was a great moment for me but I knew others waiting in line behind me could jump that far. Many fouled or were too tired to jump further.
On his last jump, Georg Werthner, from Austria jumped further (12m48, 40’ 11-1/2”) to win the event; leaving me with a silver medal. However, I can’t complain when I thought for sure I would quit before we even started. I guess I learned something at the ripe old age of 55…never quit, trust your friends to help, and ALWAYS enjoy the blessing of jumping!
Many athletes make the mistake of concentrating solely on the jumping leg. The swing leg is vital in the triple. A simple challenge perhaps can illustrate my point. Using one leg try to jump up without swinging a thigh up. Don’t get very high do you? Now try to jump up swinging your thigh. What a difference, eh?
My point is, we need to work on the timing of the swing leg if we ever want to get good jumps. in the triple jump there is a particular timing that is critical for getting a good step phase. The swing leg must be bent and swinging through before the jump leg hits the ground. This will put the body in the position to move forward instead of crashing downward and shortening the step phase.
In my observation, the best jumpers will begin to move their swing leg as they exit the hop. Their swing leg will be next to the jump leg or slightly in front of the jump leg when they hit the ground. This is the point that the jumper moves his/her hips forward and starts the arc of the step. Jumpers who don’t get good hops are constantly told they are going to high, which is often true, but more importantly, they need to move their swing leg into place sooner to put their body in place to get a good step phase.
Last year I was able to put together several short videos for training. If you are interested, the videos are being hosted by ProTips4U.com. These videos are for athletes who are looking to improve their performance but also those coaches looking for new drills and skills for their athletes. I hope you will get a chance to visit the site and investigate.
Good luck! http://www.protips4u.com/
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two schools and give a brief clinic on the horizontal jumps. The schools were in Japan and the clinics were held in the rain. Fortunately, the rain didn’t fall too hard during the hour or so that I was outside watching the athletes struggle to get the technique correct.
From this experience, I realized that it is especially important to have coaches who understand the basic skills necessary to establish a fundamental skill level for the athletes and to correct major mistakes. Most coaches in Japan have a general education in the jumps. Unfortunately, high schools in America don’t hire track coaches, but use teachers who haven’t had the opportunity to study the technical events like the jumps. My hope is that these teachers will be able to visit a camp or clinic themselves to learn the basic skills necessary to coach these events.
I have done many camps and clinics over the years and generally speaking, the most effective have been those that combined the teaching of basic skills with competition, drills, and fun. One of my favorite camp programs has been the Simplot Camp in Pocatello, Idaho. The camp is 3 days of extensive coaching, drilling and lots of fun for all the participants.
Camps are great for learning from experts but it is also important to compare your skills to other athletes of the same age and experience. Camps provide a platform for improving performance and meeting new friends. Be sure to ask questions and take as much information away from the camp as you can!
Like the Simplot Camps, the World Record Camps will feature great coaching, drills and fun. Participants will be able to ask all there burning questions to the best coaches in their event. I’m excited to have a chance to be a part of this new wave of challenging camps dedicated to the success of young athletes.
I hope to see you there!
June 27-30, San Diego, CA Jump/Speed Camp @ TBD
July 5-8 Pocatello, ID @ Idaho State University
July 13-16, San Diego, CA Jump/Speed Camp @ TBD
July 17-20 Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA All Star Jump Academy http://www.uclabruins.com/camps/2011-camps-track.html
July 21-22 Wyoming Coaches Clinic
July 25-29 San Diego, CA Agility Camp @ TBD
August 1-3 San Diego, CA Conditioning Camp @ TBD
August 3-5 Montana Coaches Association Clinic
August 15-18 Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA All Star Jump Academy http://www.uclabruins.com/camps/2011-camps-track.html
August 25-29 Walnut, CA International Track Camp @ Mt. SAC College
I expect to know the locations of the San Diego camps in a week or so. The camps will feature many drills and techniques for improving your performance. I will provide more information including how to sign up, fees and other information in future posts.
2 mile bike ride warmup
Stretch and 4 x 30m skip drills
8 x 100m @ 15 sec or faster (actual 13.7 to 15 sec)