Four years ago the Berlin studies on the Triple and Long Jump events were masterpieces of practical analysis. Each study showed key performance indicators with Dartfish Strobmotion and reviewed running velocities for each of the jumpers. It was great to see the speed of each foot strike because the center of mass is not constant and each step counts. I use distances and velocities as I will always be a sprints and hurdles coach, and just like the innovation with touch downs transforming into hurdle cycles thanks to Freelap Timing, the same approach can be used for approach and speed development in the jumps.
One of the benefits of hurdles and short sprints is the fact it allows coaches to see the global development of speed and make contributions to jumpers. Any speed and power event I love being involved with as the general problem solving contributes back into the speciality. Acceleration development is a prime factor as most athletes assume that a short to long approach works like a charm but in reality the short to long may be questionable due to the fact most programs do tempo at upright mechanics and some include plyos and lifting protocols that encourage indirect top speed. So top speed is the key to any athlete wanting to jump farther, even in the triple jump as the data shows that the faster athletes are winning the medals, so long as the jumping ability matches their speed.
Being less knowledgable in the Jumps is a good thing. I think the awareness of having less knowledge makes me do a better job by asking the smart people honest questions that may sound obvious at first. For example here are what elements are on my mind.
What is the acceleration curve of a world class jumper in practice with a three point stance, in approaches in meets, and approaches of various lengths in practice?
No coefficient exists between the drop off of raw flat speed and approach speed, but shouldn’t we measure that to close the gap? What is the usable speed ratio or percentage in execution?
If an athlete is lacking in a specific split, let’s say splits 30-40m or 20-30m, should one address that if shows up in the raw speed work? Athletes doing 2 point acceleration will have different splits than 3 point starts and what should we compare to?
What about split variability in the jumps? Wouldn’t constancy be a measurable factor? Should we address time splits as a marker of steering ability as well?
Lots of questions and I don’t have the answers. Asking different coaches that are successful in the jumps led me to believe that the reality is we need to look at this data a little bit better as we have not seen progress in the long jump since 1991 and the triple jump outdoor record for both men and women have flatlined since 1995. I am not criticizing the community, but I am urging a systems approach to looking at the event with more management style of coaching.