PRE-SEASON JUMPS TRAINING

Some people think that pre-season athletics training begins when footy and netball ends – but if you wait till then you will actually be into on-season training – that is training while competitions have begun. The benefits from building a good training base prior to the season beginning are numerous and significant:

Triple Jump1) Medals can be decided during pre-season training: The conditioning that puts you in a position to compete to the best of your ability does not occur in the few weeks leading up to a championship event. I guarantee that the majority of athletes standing on the medals podium in February and March did more condition training sessions in August and September than the disappointed athletes who fill the minor places. Sure there are those occasional freaks of nature who embarrass us mere mortals without enough sweat and tears, but they are the exception. I have never won a medal on natural ability alone, but I have beaten more naturally talented athletes many times as an end result of work ethic. Please don’t misunderstand my motivation though – it is not medals – it is helping each individual athlete perform at THEIR peak – I’m ultimately much more excited about PBs than rankings.

2) Pre-Season training is about building a base: You have probably noticed that not everyone who does athletics can Long Jump, let alone Triple Jump. But even if you do have some natural ability to jump, you will jump MUCH better if you have built a foundation of power, speed, flexibility and spring. You don’t get taught these attributes – you develop them. I often get enquiries from parents a few short weeks before a major competition “can you teach my child to jump?” The short answer is no! The long answer is that I CAN train someone to jump, and the longer I have to train them to jump, the better…

3) Many athletes develop injuries in the early stages of the season: The reason for this is that they have not built the base that has them in adequate physical condition to compete. The irony of this is that they then often have to minimise the amount of training they can do in the early stages of the season while they try to compete and recover. Meanwhile the athlete who built the base, in August and September is less likely to become injured early in the season, and can also continue to increase the quality of their training – this converts to a BIG difference in conditioning and translates to BIG differences in performances later in the season.

4) Jumps training will help your other events: This may be controversial to say, but as an example training for middle distance or walks will not improve your jumps. But training for jumps will improve ALL your other events. The power and spring developed will greatly assist your sprint speed, the core strength will assist your stride length and efficiency for middle and long distances, and the explosive development will assist your throws.

5) The quality and intensity of training needs to evolve gradually: I feel a bit sorry for athletes that for one reason or another only train with me occasionally. What I mean is that they will often find that I will make them do quite a similar session. That is they have to start at the beginning again. It would be negligent of me to make an athlete perform drills or activities that they are not conditioned to perform safely and successfully. I think that there is more variety within jumps training than most other events – but you have to graduate through the simple steps to get to the complex ones. If you want to do more fun and challenging activities, then you have to build on top of all the other sessions that you have completed in the immediate past.

6) Training needs to transition through stages: During term 2 we did lots of drills and bounds. Now as we begin to approach the time to compete again we will gradually do more work on our run-ups and get back into the sandpit with more and more technique work. Meanwhile we will still need to build our base and keep up with progression in our bounding and speed work. As such the ideal scenario in term 3 will be to attend two training sessions a week (or more if you are really keen) if you really want to smash your PBs.

7) Rule number one is to show up: There are many reasons why we might decide to miss an individual training session – the weather, how we feel, other commitments, sickness or soreness, low motivation, discouragement, lack of long term goals, peer group pressure etc… I’ve had days when I have felt like skipping training sessions, and there are days when one should rest and recover, but I have never had a day when I was disappointed that I went to training. In other words I don’t always feel like going to training beforehand, but I am always happy that I went afterwards. Getting to the track is the hardest part, training is the enjoyable part, the benefits of training when everyone else stayed home is the rewarding part.

8) Looking for some extra “homework”? I will post a series of conditioning exercise sheets on the "Free Downloads" section of this Super Healthy web site and via the Geelong Horizontal Jumpers Facebook page. These will help you to do some core conditioning work if you want to build the power component of jumping – power converts to more spring off the ground and bigger distance through the air…

9) Jumps training helps us in the rest of our life: Training helps us to manage stress, makes us more physically capable for daily activities, improves our condition to play other sports, develops new connections in our brain which is good for our mind function, enhances coordination, when done in a group is fun and social, develops persistence, teaches us a healthy work ethic, increases self-discipline, keeps us trim and toned, improves our posture and flexibility, strengthens our self-esteem, improves our appearance.

Looking forward to coaching you all to greater distances this season…

Please make sure I know your email address and mobile phone number so I can update you with any news and training tips relevant to jumps…

Jump Far… Nick Hodgson

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