Velocity and Plyometrics?


I also found it extremely valuable at measuring velocity through the phases. This being from board to end of the runway just before the sandpit. The major nemesis to triple jump is loss of horizontal velocity.

-Kenta Bell

Some interesting talk on what models can be found in the Triple Jump based on the last 5 world championships and 4 olympics. After listening to a few of them I asked how does one know they are doing all of the training elements correctly? Short approach work for Triple Jump is not the same and many coaches are doing other elements that could be done better if we had information that was actionable. The age old analogy of skipping a stone across the pond for the even is used all the time, but can we dig deeper? Very biased I looked at all of the data and listed velocities of the approach velocity of the best triple jumpers in the world since the 1980s while looking at phase distribution and loss of velocity per contact. Guess what? Nobody in the men’s event had average times and massive jumping ability. Even if one did have amazing ability to transfer horizontal velocity, one can only preserve a percentage of it as the velocity decreases. So the question is how to work on preserving speed through the jumps while ensuring that distances and power is increasing in the whole event?

Looking at the Berlin data, it could be a conjecture that one has has to be running 10.4 meters per second to be a world class triple jumper of 17.5m plus, but several athletes hit those velocities and were under 17m respectively. On the other hand, running 9.5 meters per second it’s hard to get in the 17m range. Approach speeds are sub-maximal velocities near 1.0 in the 10m segments of electronic timing and all out sprints my get closer to the 11 meters per second or near .9. The elusive .80 split or Bolt Zone for the adjusted freelap cut off, means one is going 12.3 or higher meters per second in a race. Knowing that practice one is going to be 1-5% slower, and the fact that one is having a controlled sprint time, approach velocities are going to be slower. This means each athlete needs to think about the maximum speed and how much coordination they have to preserve a higher percentage of it. Nobody is jumping the same speed of their max speed, but the better coordinated ones can do it, but it becomes harder at higher velocities.

I believe that athletes must have 11-12 meters per second fly speeds to have comfortable 10-10.4 velocities. If not, one is going to limit their ultimate performance. One still has to support their speed by having the power to use it, as 10.4 velocities with 14 meter legs likely results in injury or phases that look like high school beginners. I have been looking at drop off or decay of plyos recently after digesting Kenta Bell’s article on Speed Endurance. I think athletes need to be faster and longer on bounding on the entire distance so one learns to be more efficient. While in the actual event one will decay velocity, the drop off and entire distance is more tinkering with the athlete’s style and strengths. The goal is to have high velocity off the board and preserve each contact as much as possible to get longer phases. Efficient bounding is the ability to preserve the approach speed and that can be a diagnostic tool. After watching medalists in training, all of them are great bounders in different forms. What was interesting is the different styles and patterns of bounding based on their speeds. Walking or standing approaches were dramatically different than the event, but even the faster approaches were unique. I don’t know what the secret here is (if one exists) but I do know that athletes should be striving to improve both kinematic and kinetic abilities if one is going to be breaking Edward’s WR.

My closing thoughts is how are athletes able to manage speed through the jumping with technique and power development. I think from a skill development each series of jumps and bounds need more parameters for us to become more effective as coaches. I realize that one has to jump better, but without basic velocities and kinematic metrics, evolution is going to stale at what we know from the 1990s.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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