Athletics NI host Jumps Squad

09 January 2018

Athletics NI host Jumps Squad

The first of the Athletics NI Event Group Jumps squads took place last month on December 2nd and saw over 20 athletes and coaches take part in beginner/ intermediate pole vault and horizontal jumps sessions.

Athletics Northern Ireland coach Adam McMullen began the day began with a group warm up which included functional movement activities and foot and ankle conditioning which can be seen below.

The group of athletes and coaches then split into two groups, half took part in a Pole Vault session for beginners led by international coach Jim Alexander and the other half took part in sprint specific drills followed by max velocity times through speed gates. 

Warm up included; 

  • Easy skip
  • Knee to chest squeeze
  • Split squat
  • Easy skip
  • Hands ahead squat
  • Hip hinge
  • Walking lunge
  • Lateral skip
  • Push up to plank
  • Single leg arabesque
  • High knee to reverse lunge
  • Hip bridge
  • Stiff leg skip
  • Heel to toe walk
  • Calf raises

The max velocity drills gave the group of athletes a chance to practice how they would approach a long or triple jump run up and when they should be hitting and holding their optimal jump speed. 

Max Velocity drills include:

  • High knee walk with a 3s hold (over 10m)
  • High Knee Run (over 20m)
  • Ankle over Ankle dribble (over 20m)
  • Ankle over Calf dribble (over 20m)
  • Ankle over Knee dribble (over 20m)
  • Scissor Run (over 20m)
  • Ankle over ankle, calf then knee bleed out (10m per segment)

The main focus of the Max Velocity running was to develop technically efficient upright mechanics for running which are positions such as triple extension as the foot leaves the ground, hips staying up tall and shoulders staying relaxed and low and also the foot stepping over the knee as it cycles through during a running stride.

After the first session concluded there was a one-hour lunch break which gave the coaches and staff a chance to talk about some training principles while giving their own personal experiences. Jim Alexander presented a slideshow on the basics of pole vaulting.

Click here to download the Slideshow.

The slideshow covered the basics of how to approach pole vault training and simple drills beginner athletes/ coaches can use to advance their training. 

Adam McMullen had a sit down with several horizontal jumps coaches to discuss common queries that usually arise when working with jumpers, these included, when to start jumping during a winter program, the priorities of speed and technical jump training and when it should be fitted into a training week and also on how to properly coach landing mechanics or approach issues athletes may have with their landing.

After lunch all athletes then had a chance to experience different variations of plyometric training for jumpers. This included some basic exercises such as remedial pogo jumps (single leg and double) hurdle jumps, drop jumps, depth jumps which were followed by a hurdle rebound.

The day was then concluded with short approach long jumps and triple jumps and some technical run up work up. This gave coaches the chance to talk through some technical matches and mismatches they may have seen.

Some of the common issues the coaches were seeing was that some athletes were slowing down into the board preparing to jump which was changing their run up each time and other athletes were dropping their hips in preparation to jump and also losing speed into the board.

Some queues such as keeping the head up and running through the board or focusing on staying tall during the last through steps seemed to really help some of the athletes.

During this time aspiring Pole Vault coaches had the chance to observe an advanced training session with top ranked vaulters Ellie McCartney and Shane Martin.

The next instalment of this jumps development squad will be during one of the last Sundays in February with a date being confirmed over the next few weeks with more of a focus on high jump and it will also give athletes the chance to retest their 20m-40m and 30-40m flying times through electronic timing gates to keep track of their progress.