The Approach Run [1]

Genevieves Birthday 003 (2)Following on from static or walk/jog on approach run:-

The main technical features that should be observed in the approach run are:


  1. Proper posture, consisting of neutral head and pelvic alignments…
  2. Progressive body angles through the drive phase, accomplished by using the legs to push the body up into running position….
  3. Vertical velocities being generated with each step…
  4. Relaxation and patient frequency increase, allowing the pelvis to move freely within its postural alignment.

How does the athlete accomplish an accurate approach?

  • Practice! Practice! Practice!
  • Energy Distribution down the runway!
  • Programming – Which is consistency of stride pattern and accumulation of errors
  • The long jump dance. You are on stage – choreograph your approach

Adjusting –  adjusting the position of their measured start mark. We need to spend a great deal of time practicing this under a variety of environmental, emotional, and physical conditions.

Accuracy – visual control –    (a)  As they approach the board they modify their stride pattern to hit the board accurately (b)  Use of oversize board (different colours) for a time to help the athlete adapt to visual control and overcome the fear of fouling.

More in next blog,

Speak with you soon,


PS: Thanks to Randy Huntington [USA] Coach to WR holder Mike Powell 8.95m

Static or Walk/Jog On Approach Run?

Me Again 2 002 (2)I personally prefer a static start as do approximately 75% of all jumpers. Mistakes at the start are exaggerated at the end. Probably most importantly is to start the same way every time and a static start would assist this accuracy. Walk on may be more relaxing but not accurate. Ivan Pedrosa [Cuba] had a high foul rate even though he was a multiple medal and podium finisher. He had what looked like a very complex series of movement patterns before hitting his first check mark. Not to be copied.

To hit a 20cm take-of board from distances up to 45mts requires high levels of skill and spatial awareness. It is also essential to arrive at the board at your maximum usable take-off speed – optimal speed and at the correct postural position to execute a correct take-off. The obvious outdoor ‘fly in the ointment’ that can spoil a jumpers day is the curse of variable wind direction and speed.

To replicate this accuracy during competition requires run-up work to have been a key priority in the overall training programme.

There has to be a consistent stride accuracy from stride 1 to the board. As we know, the first few strides are often where many problems are born.

As this is the first thing that can go wrong it should be the first potential problem to nail down. So my favoured start would be a static start with one foot forward, arms in a  position ready to sprint.

When you use a static start you have to overcome inertia so the first stride is of vital importance. The heavier the jumper the more force has to be initiated. I emphasise a drive or bound from this static fixed position to the first landing. jumpers have to DRIVE over those first few strides.

We do spend time on the static start into the first six strides…

speak with you soon,


Drills and Skills: Finding the Balance

I take no credit for this article. I saw it on the Elite Track Website and posted by Vern Gambetta: It could have been me talking….

“Simple choice with complex implications: You can do drills or you can train skills. If you want to get better at your sport train skills. Don’t forget drills do not equal skills.”

This needs a bit of elaboration; it is not an either or proposition, there is a place for drills if they are used properly.

To often I see practices and training sessions that are essentially a drill-a-rama, an endless collection of drills with no progression and no connection to the actual sport skill.

It is incumbent on each coach to develop a system that works in his or her sport. Meaningful drills that transfer to the sport are part of a good system of training. Care must be taken that the drill does not become an end unto itself.

The drills must have a clear context and connection the desired sport skill. The same is true for technical and tactical drills; they must connect to a bigger whole.

Criteria for effective drills:

  • The drill should have a clear purpose and goal.
  • The drill should be precise and exact.
  • Drills should be individually prescribed to address a specific technical problem for that individual or a tactical issue for a team.
  • In selecting a drill the focus on the absolute need to do not on the nice to do.


Speak with you all soon,


Changing Take-Off Legs

Genevieves Birthday 003Changing take-off legs in long jumping is a difficult ask. But sometimes it works…

The young athlete seen in the film clip below is a very promising combined eventer and recently won the Bronze medal at U17 level in the recent  AAA Combined Events Championships held at the Sheffield Indoor Athletics arena. He subsequently won the silver medal at the Somerset Combined Events Champs held at Millfield.

H’s been suffering of late with a very painful knee and we thought about him switching take-off legs. It has been done successfully by many top class jumpers, notably Jess Ennis.

This film is the first time he took off using the ‘other leg’…

Not a shabby effort – work in progress.

Good take-off leg extension coupled with a great free thigh drive to initiate that all-important vertical impulse. Also, good timing off the arms from the board to the apex of the flight path….

May 9th: Had a second session last evening and removed the take-off platform. Came in from 6 strides, then 8, then constructed a 12 stride approach and simply ‘let him go’.

His first comment, apart from ‘WOW’ was that he felt comfortable and that his landing position was a lot better than when he jumped from his normal take-off leg.

He’s competing this weekend at the regional championships – will let you know how he gets on.

Speak with you soon,



Going backwards to go forwards…

cropped-plyometric-book-cover1.jpgAfter a hectic period of competitions my training group now have a short break before they compete again. Time to reflect on what’s gone. Take a look at some technical aspects and where possible amend and refine….

We trained last evening. Long Jump was on the menu..

‘We looked at the take-off and getting into that wide split from the board at the moment of lifting. This is something we do now and again. We go back to the beginning and look at the essential movement patterns of an event. Going backwards to go forwards. It’s good reinforcement’…

There’s a need to coordinate the arms, get that free thigh to the parallel, look to establish a good head position and getting that take-off leg extension. All the simple basics that need to be done…

So we set up a specific drill situation utilising low , flat take-off platforms. We came in from 6 strides and warmed up with the HELD-THIGH drill. That is holding the take-off position in a wide split, upper torso upright, head and eyes looking forward, coordinating the arm swings on both sides. The landing is done on the front leg/foot with a run out up the sandpit.

This was done over and over [and over…!]

I tried to impress upon them the importance of getting the arms/hands as far away from the centre of mass in order to create a moment of inertia [this helps to slow down any unwanted forward rotation].

We moved on to the full jump, again from 6 strides. The idea was to transfer the drill into the whole event. Took some time because young long jumpers want to get into the flight phase too early. We can’t rush the take-off. A good split and hold from the board can add 30cms to jump performance.

After this we did 2 x [4 x 150mts]. A hard session and something we haven’t done before. They had 3 minutes between reps and 10 minutes between sets.

I have to say that they handled the session really well [no one sick] although the photograph below doesn’t indicate that…!

After 4 x 150mts
Just after the first set of 4..

Speak with you soon,


Plyometric and Complex Training

Me Again 2 002 (2)This is a short video of my jumps and combined events group training. They are using a variety of hurdles, boxes and medicine balls to help achieve that explosive, reactive and explosive strength required by all jumpers…..

This is just one element in the whole  training programme. It is not a stand alone training unit.

Speak with you all soon,


Specificity of Strength Development [Part 2]

Genevieves Birthday 003 (2)As approach speed increases, strength must also increase to be able to control the higher forces at touchdown.

Long jumpers MUST prevent excessive knee-flexion during the eccentric phase.

To achieve this, the jumper must be able to tolerate high stretch loads. At take-off I would like to see this angle at the back of the knee at about 165-170°.

The ability to quickly switch from the eccentric to the concentric phase is described as reactive or elastic strength.

The implication of this, is that the training for a long jumper must be to develop this type of reactive strength.

NOTE: You can develop a traditional weight training programme which will enhance the Type 11a anaerobic fast twitch muscle fibres but once this foundation has been established then a MORE specific strength programme must be introduced to develop and enhance the type 11b anaerobic fast twitch fibres

Great care must be taken in the selection of that specific programme and indeed in the selection of the exercises.

A PLYOMETRIC programme in conjunction with the traditional weights programme will ensure that the specific strength required at take-off is developed.

Platform to Platform Drill
Platform to Platform Drill

I have been using plyometric and complex training regimes in my training programmes for many, many years……MORE NEXT WEEK

Speak with you all soon,



Specificity of Strength Development [Part 1]

Genevieves Birthday 003 (2)Major considerations: The greatest strength requirement in long and triple jumping is in relation to the take-off phase. The duration of the take-off is always less that 0.20m/s. A top class jumper would only touch down for 0.12m/s.

In the long jump, the centre of gravity lowers slightly [although in my experience, this happens naturally] prior to to take-off and rises immediately after the foot plant. So, the last stride to the board puts the whole take-off leg into a strong form position and it acts as a pivot to allow the other free leg and supporting limbs to SWING through dynamically and vertically. Therefore, in long jump the take-off consists of an eccentric-concentric sequence known as the stretching-shortening cycle [SSC].


In the long jump, elite jumpers achieve faster run-ups and produce greater take-off forces in ‘less time’ that less experienced jumpers. Generally, the greater the run up speed, the greater the tendency for the take-off leg to ‘bend’ on impact as a result of the high eccentric or stretch loads imposed on the leg extensor muscles.

NOTE: This is often seen in younger jumpers and jumpers who have received inadequate coaching.

There is a clear requirement for the body to RESIST flexion at touchdown.

Part 2 coming soon……[what we can do about limiting excessive flexion on touchdown]

Speak with you all soon,



Training Tips and Comments…


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