The Joys of Distraction

The Joys of Distraction

Every year I am approached by parents (and team manager on a membership drive) shuttling a young teenager towards the jumps areas. Their mission is to give their son or daughter a few tips prior to the school competitive season. The usual banter recounts how they seemed to do well at the school event and are now heading for a regional meet; can I help? I ask when the big event is… ‘This Friday’ is a typical response.

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Scrambled Advantages

Scrambled Advantages

Within all sports that contain stop-start, quick direction changes and zero-to-max demands is the skill of being able to scramble. While the origins of the word scramble relate to jumbles and stumbles, the use of the word has also come to mean being able move with immediate action and avoiding trouble (as with jets and quarterbacks).

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The Incline Sprint Drill

The Incline Sprint Drill

If you take a look at the illustration you can see a common exercise used as part of sprint development, particularly in relation to the drive phase after the start. It belongs in a family of related incline exercises such as hill sprints, stairs, sled pulling and pushing, scrambles and short blast exercises using blocking dummies etc...

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Dynamic Posture and Mini Hurdles

Dynamic Posture and Mini Hurdles

There was a time when I thought I might explore hurdling as an event. I was young and there was no coaching so I dragged hurdles up into school hallways after students had vanished and tried to figure out what to do. I eventually managed to get a copy of the ‘Hurdlers Bible’ by Wilbur Ross and that gave me the one-step and half-hurdle drills.

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The Probability Of Success

The Probability Of Success

The workshop was over, the goodbyes and handshakes finished, and participants were beginning to scatter to the winds. There had been many other groups sharing the facility and I always find it interesting that I don’t really see them when I’m concentrating on a presentation. As I shouldered my equipment and walked away from the jumps area I noticed a small group of teenage athletes, sprinters perhaps, lining up to do what appeared to be hurdle drills...

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Bench Steps or Step Ups

Bench Steps or Step Ups

f you give the illustration a quick glance you will see a common training exercise used for fitness and sport. Bench Steps, with or without a load or offset is not a core TAKEOFF exercise but does have high value for mobility and motor patterning. The illustration is taken from an actual situation where the athlete (a runner) was instructed to do 3 sets of 8 reps with each leg....

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The Feet Never Leave the Programme

The Feet Never Leave the Programme

As we move around on our feet our base of support is a small malleable pad of soft and hard tissues. If we stand on two feet the base of support is wider than on one; being distributed between the two. There are ongoing messages of sensation and adjustment between the feet and brain that are trained and mapped over time....

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When You Run Up a Hill

When You Run Up a Hill

Within the group of young middle distance/XC runners I trained with long ago there was a maxim we applied to hill training: ‘When you run up the hill the wind is in your face. And when you run down the hill the wind is in your face.’ It was a bit of group humour injected to assuage the shared discomfort, some say pain, even torture, of doing hill intervals....

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A Running Attitude

A Running Attitude

A long time ago I had the great fortune to listen to Gerard Mach during his years in Canada. He was a sprint guru and sprint coach who had systematised leg dynamic drills into A’s, B’s and C’s that were done regularly as preparation drills. His main purpose in using such drills was to develop what he termed ‘sprint posture’. I must confess right now that I completely missed that point......

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Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

My first sighting of a medicine ball was in a school gym littered with different equipment: it was a 4kg leather stitched ball filled with t-shirt rag. Bigger than a basketball it sat in the corner inviting curious young boys (girls weren’t allowed into the gym in those days) to investigate. It was a ball, and so the first thing young boys typically do with a ball is throw it. Typically at one another....

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What You See Is - Frog Leaps

What You See Is - Frog Leaps

I call them frog leaps because its seems better than referring to them as consecutive bilateral jumps… besides, athletes and coaches alike will remember catchy names more easily. In the illustration, adapted from a video, you can readily identify the movement: one used around the world in games, sports and conditioning. From a standing start the young athlete has to generate horizontal momentum and keep leaping for a pre-scripted distance. It is an extremely valuable movement skill that is adaptable and has dozens of variations.

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Bounding is not Running

Bounding is not Running

If you take an online peek at what some people identify as ‘Bounding’ within sport and exercise training you will see many many variations of movements. Most are not bounds. They may fall into a ‘stride’ category in that there is an alternating right-left landing pattern, although curiously some pictured examples are not even in the stride category.

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What You See Is: Endurance Running Takeoffs-Before, During and After

What You See Is: Endurance Running Takeoffs-Before, During and After

The runner used for the illustrations has about four years of track and cross country experience and trains about 3 times per week with a group. On other days she may go out for longer runs with a friend. She has dreams of becoming a good middle distance runner and works hard for improvements. She has had no injuries to speak of, although shin splints and hip flexor pains are common. Her feet ache all night after track workouts.

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PLYOMETRIC TRAINING: DEVELOPMENTAL or INCREMENTAL?

PLYOMETRIC TRAINING: DEVELOPMENTAL or INCREMENTAL?

The world of strength and conditioning has within it the curious world of plyometrics. The word itself has the power to elicit comment, opinion, argument and dismissal. The research on the subject is fraught with misinterpretation and confusing results. Starting as an experimental approach to investigating how tendons work to help us move plyometric jumps and leaps quickly became part of training programmes for elite athletes requiring explosive ground reactions. After that the water became muddied.

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