Basketball player turned stud High Jumper

Posted In: What Would You Do?

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #11603

        Athlete: A collegiate basketball player.

        Scenario: He is a member of the JV basketball team. A friend on the basketball team encourages him to come out for the track team. He joins the track team and practices the high jump one time before his first meet. He shows up to the track meet wearing basketball shorts and sneakers, didn't have a specific mark to run from and he didn't arch his back over the bar. He comes in at 1.94m (6-4.25) and continues to clear each progressive height until the head coach shut him down at 2.22 (7-3.25) for fear of injury to a guy who has practically no training. This athlete high jumped once in high school just for the heck of it but otherwise has no experience in track and field. The sudden windfall of such a fantastic athlete has immediately catapulted your team to contenders in the national team race if he can repeat his performance.

        Things to consider:
        *How would you train him?

        BTW- This scenario is REAL.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        QUIKAZHELL on #51660

        The video is here    https://www.polevaultpower.com/media/video/

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        Daniel Andrews on #51661

        I'd work on basics, approach work and proper blocking 3 days a week in practice, I'd also do 2 days with plyos, 1 day with jumping, 1 day technical sprint work, 1 day of sprinting, and 3 days of flexibilty/mobility work per week.  I might throw some GS and Multi-Throw stuff in to vary his routine and add lifting, but biggest thing is approach and blocking.

        Kind of like this.

        Monday: Approach and Plyos 
        Tuesday: Sprinting and Jumping, Flexibility
        Wednesday: Approach/Blocking, technical sprint work
        Thursday: Approach/Blocking, Flexibility, medium intensity plyos
        Friday: Flexibility
        Saturday: Jump

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        QUIKAZHELL on #51662

        Before anything I'd want to know this kids entire history and what he does for training, and what his life is like. And also give him a glimpse into the real work and show him some video and real stats. And have a long conversation about his goals, where he could be etc.

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        Eager on #51663

        First of all…WOW.  I read the article and then watched the video over and over for about 10 minutes. Here are my thoughts:

        Looking at the video…if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I'd be super conservative with this kid if I only had him for one season, because he does a LOT of things right.  For this season, I'd focus on approach work and minimal jumping.  He needs to get used to jumping in high jump shoes.  I would avoid at all cost trying to get him to analyze technique.  That can be done in the future, but for now, just let him find his own groove.  Like Quik, I'd also want to know what sort of training his JV hoops has provided, then I'd try not to deviate too much in terms of introducing a ton of new stimuli.  Obviously you don't just want him to play hoops for a workout all the time, but at the same time you don't want to beat the crap out of him trying to coach him down to 6'10". 

        I had a similar, if less drastic, situation last year in the long jump.  The kid, a sophomore, turned out with four weeks left until the post-season.  I'm a TJ guy, and our team needed the points to try for a state title, but we had to give up on that after one week because I could see that he was going to blow up trying to get it all.  We went super simple and worked on approach work most of the time because he did a lot of other things right but couldn't find the board.  Long story short:  After seven weeks of track the kid goes 24'3" and wins the big-school state title.  I was torn between being blown away and totally expecting it because I'd seen what he could do in practice.  Now this kid is clearly a genetic freak so it's not because of my super-fly coaching ability that he went that far, but the thing I do pat myself on the back for was keeping it simple and dropping the TJ.  (Besides…he was only a soph.  As of today, we're a month away from beginning to learn TJ this coming season, and yes, it IS killing me to wait until then. 🙂  )

        So, to sum up, the K.I.S.S. principle is king here.  A jumper like that just needs to have consistent approaches, get used to jumping in spikes, and figure out that he can ALWAYS go back to being an accountant later, meaning his coach has to instill in him a love for the sport by not making it a chore.

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        Daniel Andrews on #51664

        The only flaw I saw in the video with respect to being on the ground was his approach mechanics, his foot is too far forward in his run up (could be the video too), however he plants cleanly with his foot well forward of his center of mass creating a nice hinged moment and doesn't decelerate.  The good things, Penultimate step, final step, lean on curve even in shox, no deceleration through plant to jump, lowered of center of mass.  No doubt that the more approaches he does the better he'll become and I have to agree to keeping it simple.

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        lorien on #51665

        He obviously gets the majority of his workouts done at the basketball court. I can imagine that the team also does weights (I gather they have a good strength coach too). So I would probably not introduce plyos, sprinting or weights right now. I would, however, have him jump with spikes once a week, and some low intensity drills once in a while.

        It would be a totally different story if he were to quit playing basketball.

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        flight05 on #51666

        he only jumped 2.14 this weekend….i wonder what happened

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51667

        I think if the objective was to have him win indoor nationals and help the team to a championship then I'd be really ultra conservative with his training. I've seen plenty of basketball player-turned-high jump athletes have their best performance their first meet when their legs were fresh. Their coaches then rightly get excited and wrongly think 'if this kid can jump this high with no training imagine what will happen when I train him." They then proceed to train the athlete and as the season progresses they lose the spring they had during the first meet and performance actually drop off.

        In light of this I'd probably short run jump one day a week, do calisthenic / general strength work 1-2 days a week, encourage him to play basketball once or twice a week and rest on the other days.

        In the week following indoor nationals I'd probably start to do incorporate some more traditional track training including some speed work, light plyos and weight work.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        d3doitforfree on #51668

        I had a quick opportunity to talk to the Lindenwood Coach this past weekend and tried to ask him about what he was doing with his new phenom.  He didn't reveal much but he did mention that the basketball coach released him from the team because he didn't want the liability surrounding a situation like this. 

        BTW, the kid was still jumping in his Nike Shox and almost cleared 7'4".  He doesn't like the feel of high jump shoes.

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        tkelly5 on #51669

        I'd give him a little bit of approach work, but as was pointed out, his approach is fairly decent.  I'd focus most of my efforts and getting him to arch a bit over the bar.  I'd have him keep doin whatever it is he's doin up to that point, and maybe supplement that with some form drills.  Oh, and I might give him a little bit of approach work so taht he has a mark to go from.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51670

        Anyone know if this guy has improved?

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        skeletor on #51671

        according to the lindenwood track page, he hasn't improved.. he's just floating around 7'0"

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        Eager on #51672

        Turns out he did improve.  Transferred to Auburn for his senior year and went 2.33 indoor.  Was 3rd outdoor. 

        https://auburntigers.cstv.com/sports/c-track/mtt/thomas_donald00.html

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51673

        He won indoor NCAAs. I know his Coach at Auburn fairly well and have spoken to him about Donald's training. As would be expected he's VERY raw and doesn't have a very good work capacity. He is obviously incredibly talented but his Coach (who has coached several athletes over 2.15m) believes he could be an all-time great one.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        Eager on #51674

        One of the steps on the way to being an all-time great one was completed in Osaka today.

        https://osaka2007.iaaf.org/results/gender=M/discipline=HJ/combCode=hash/roundCode=f/result.html

        This story just keeps on keepin' on.

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51675

        Yeah. Many people thought he had peaked indoors. They've been proven wrong.

        ELITETRACK Founder

      • Mike Young
        Keymaster
        Mike Young on #51676

        Just read an article where he said he still trains less than 5 hours a week. Not a day…A WEEK!

        For whatever reason, extremely low volume training seems to be more successful for the HJ than for any other event.

        ELITETRACK Founder

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        mortac8 on #51677

        Training 5 hours a week is key 🙂  I wonder what his training looks like.  On his final jump, his approach looked like an approach you'd use in a dunk contest.

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