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Blog: Jumps and Combined Events Update

  • Posted: 06.04.2014
  • Author: Alan Richardson (UKA)
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Jumps and Combined Events Update April 6th 2014

With April 2014 marking the start of a new outdoor season, many training groups across the country use the Easter holidays to add their final preparations to the season in the USA, France, Spain, Portugal as well as their usual training venues in the UK.

Many coaches have asked recently about both the benefits of warm weather training and how to approach the period away from home. As a Pole Vault coach, I have always been wary of training camps due to the compromises taken with travelling with poles and which to take, as well as the need for specific facilities. This year I have been based a long way from the training group I work with (Somerset to Loughborough) and so have only seen them once a week. This is not an ideal scenario and so my contact time is at a premium. This prompted the idea of a 2014 warm weather trip to Spain. So, in this instance, I see the benefits as being enhanced contact time for the coaches, less distractions from work, school or even the daily grind of life for those full time athletes and finally, the improved recovery ability of athletes in the warmer climate, allowing greater quality of work to take place than remaining in the UK where the climate in April can be variable to say the least!

With that in mind what are the aims of the camp? To train more or harder? To have greater focus on quality of work and/ or technical development? The biggest mistake I have seen and experienced, is for athletes to dramatically increase their training volume and/or intensity and consequently sustain injury during the camp. As a coach to a group of pole vaulters, our aim is to use the 10 days as increased contact time around technical development and so we will use our time to focus on vaulting and technical drills while simply maintaining the physical qualities. It is also a good time to educate younger athletes on issues such as recovery and nutrition.

 

I would recommend before planning the training programme for warm weather training, the coach considers:

- How much and what type of training is normally completed?

- How long is the camp? The longer the camp the more the normal training programme can be completed

- What is the aim of the camp? Do not try and achieve and train all areas during the timeframe of the camp

- What facilities are available?

- What medical back up will you have/ do the athletes normally have?

 

I would also like to take some time to reflect on some of the achievements in our event area in 2014. The start of the year saw National Records set by Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the women’s High Jump, Luke Cutts in men’s Pole Vault and John Lane in the men’s indoor Multi Events. With Katarina also winning a world indoor medal in the Long jump, the event area looks bright for the season ahead. Equally, when we look at the Power of 10 standards so far in 2014, many of the disciplines and age groups are already exceeding 2013 performances, which is incredibly exciting! Having attended the England Athletics age group championships indoors, I was encouraged by the quality of coaching as it was evident that there were many well prepared athletes who performed well and set a number of championships best in the field events.

This success has been underpinned by an ever expanding England Athletics National Coach Development Programme with over 100 jumps and combined event coaches now being members of the programme. But it is not just in the numbers. The quality of delivery feedback has been of the highest standard and coaches have been well supported in activities such as the attendance at the European Pole Vault and High Jump Conference in Cologne, Germany as well as National Gatherings of Horizontal Jumps and Combined coaches taking place in both Loughborough and Birmingham.

In addition, the horizontal jumps group had the chance at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix to have a question and answer session with British Athletics Performance Coach Aston Moore, Head of Coaching and Development Peter Stanley and EA’s NCM Team of John Crotty and Femi Akinsanya. More than 20 coaches took this opportunity to learn from such experience.

Looking forwards, in the summer there are excellent opportunities for competition at many levels including the Commonwealth Games and World Junior Championships. For coaches, the Masterclass series continues with four pole vault sessions held by American Greg Hull, (coach to multiple world record holders and two separate Olympic gold medallists). More information can be found at http://www.englandathletics.org/england-athletics-news/pole-vault-masterclass-with-greg-hull

My final thought for coaches heading towards competition time is to strive to make athletes independent and take ownership of their performances and decisions. This is of course an educational process, but one we should always be aiming to develop each day.

Good luck for the summer season

Alan Richardson

Event Group Lead- Jumps and Combined Events

 

 

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by Anonymous on 25/05/2017 at 03:36 PM

    Hi Alan.My daughter is a good U15 athlete, strong in 4 of the 5 pentathlon disciplines but is really struggling with the 800m. I need some advice on types of training and the number of sessions that she should be doing during the week. Is there anywhere to get information on suggested training programmes for multi events? Thanks for your time.
    Jill Chapman

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