Coaches use drills to reinforce the movement concepts they teach, so it’s important to understand why a drill is used. Coach Parno breaks down the concepts behind the hurdle wall drills, wickets, and toe drags and explains why and how he uses them in is track and field program.
After the huge success and popularity of the first “Jumps Roundtable” series of articles, SimpliFaster asked Coach Nick Newman to trade his usual answers for questions. Nick interviewed eight accomplished jumps coaches for the second edition of this excellent six-part series.
We have published one question from the “Jumps Roundtable Edition #2” per day over the last six days. This sixth and last installment is on the specifics of designing a training plan, and also delves into the biggest influences on these particular coaches. Please enjoy, and please share.
Bob Myers: Bob Myers is currently retired, but served as Associate Head Coach at Arizona and was a college dean and athletic director over the past 40 years. He has an M.S. in Kinesiology, specializing in Biomechanics, and a doctorate in education with his dissertation on “A Comparison of Elite Jumps Education Programs of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom Leading to a Level III Jumps Education Program in the United States.” Bob was inducted into five Halls of Fame as an athlete, coach, and athletic director. He has published 31 articles in professional journals around the world and has lectured at over 50 locations throughout the world.
In his 13 years coaching at Arizona, Bob coached four national record holders, five collegiate record holders, and 27 All-Americans in the high jump, triple jump, long jump, javelin, and heptathlon. He is perhaps best known for coaching the University of Arizona women high jumpers to a 1-2-3 finish in the 1985 NCAA Outdoor Championship, where all three jumped over 6’3” (1.91m for second and third, and 1.93m for first) even though two were heptathletes. He also coached Jan Wohlschlag, who was ranked No. 2 in the world in 1989, won four USATF National Championships, and was the World Grand Prix Champion.
Todd Lane: Todd Lane entered his 10th season as a member of LSU’s coaching staff in 2017. The Tigers and Lady Tigers have flourished in eight seasons under Lane’s direction—he has coached 11 NCAA scorers to 35 scoring All-America honors in four different jumping events since joining the LSU coaching staff right before the 2008 season. His student-athletes have also captured six SEC championships and 36 All-SEC honors over the last eight seasons.
Nelio Moura: Nelio Alfano Moura has been a member of national coaching staffs in Brazil since 1990, participating in five Olympic Games, five Pan-American Games, and 17 World Championships (Indoor and Outdoor). Nelio has developed, in partnership with his wife, Tania Fernandes de Paula Moura, more than 60 athletes who qualified to national teams, and he coordinates a talent development program successfully maintained by the São Paulo state government. He is Horizontal Jumps Coach at Esporte Clube Pinheiros, and has a master’s degree in Human Performance from UNIMEP – Piracicaba. At least one of Nelio’s athletes has qualified to each iteration of the Olympic Games since 1988, and he guided two of them to gold medals in Beijing 2008.
Dusty Jonas: Former high jump Olympian, Dusty Jonas, was named a full-time assistant coach on the Nebraska track and field staff on July 12, 2017, after eight years as a volunteer assistant for the Huskers men’s and women’s high jump. Since joining the Huskers program as a volunteer coach in 2010, Dusty has coached nine Big Ten high jump champions and 10 first-team All-Americans. Twelve Huskers have cracked all-time Top 10 high jump charts in his eight seasons. In the 2015 indoor season, Dusty helped then-sprints coach Billy Maxwell coach the Huskers men’s sprints, hurdles, and relays, and that group went on to combine for 46 of the team’s title-winning 127 points at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
Neil Cornelius: After a torn ankle ligament at 19, Neil started coaching in his free time at the age of 20. One year later, he coached his first National Junior champion in the triple jump (Boipelo Motlhatlhego, 16.07m). By 2011, he had his first 8m jumper (Mpho Maphutha, the youngest South African and the first South African high school athlete to jump over 8m at the age of 18 years). By 2013, Neil has his first national colors by representing South Africa as a team coach for the African Junior Champs. There, his athletes received three medals (long jump: Gold; triple jump: Gold (15.98 CR) and Silver). In 2016, Neil coached Luvo Manyonga to an Olympic Long Jump silver medal (8.37m) and in 2017 to a World Championship Gold (8.48m) and an African/Commonwealth Record (8.65m).
Since Neil first started coaching, his training group has amassed 88 medals (16 medals at various international championships and 72 medals at national championships). He’s currently the head Long Jump/Triple Jump coach for the Tuks Athletic Club (University of Pretoria), as well as the head jumps coach for the Tuks HPC and the Tuks Sport High School.
Kyle Hierholzer: Kyle Hierholzer has most recently worked as the 2017 Lead Jumps/Multis coach and education manager for ALTIS in Phoenix, AZ. During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he was the co-coach of Jumps/Multis with Dan Pfaff. Over the course of Kyle’s tenure, the group produced podium finishers at the U.S. Indoor Championships, World Indoor Championships, World Outdoor Championships, and Olympic Games, and also a Diamond League Champion. Before joining ALTIS in fall 2014, Kyle worked eight years at Kansas State University. Kyle primarily assisted head coach Cliff Rovelto in the sprints, jumps, and combined events. He also served as the primary coach for the K-State pole vaulters.
Stacey Taurima: Coach Taurima has been the Head of Athletics of the University of Queensland for almost five years, where he has coached senior and collegiate athletes to finals in World Youth, World U20 Championships, Commonwealth Games, and World University Games. He has coached national medalists in both senior men’s and women’s sprints events, and in 2017 coached Liam Adcock and Shemaiah James to Silver and Bronze in the Open Australian Championships, along with Taylor Burns and Daniel Mowen to Gold in the 4x400m. Stacey has coached 16 national champions and 19 international athletes in a five-year period and many professional sporting teams utilize him for his expertise in speed-based programs.
Alex Jebb: Alex Jebb is the Combined Events and Jumps coach for John Hopkins University. In his first two years of coaching there, his athletes have earned six All-American honors, five Academic All-American honors, 15 school records, four championship meet records, and two NCAA Division 3 All-Time Top 10 marks. Alex was honored as the USTFCCCA NCAA Division III Mideast Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2017 indoor season. He graduated from John Hopkins with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, and from Duke University with a master’s degree in Engineering Management. He is an engineer by day and coach later in the day.
Nick Newman: This question is repeated from the first edition of the Jumps Roundtable, simply because it is an area of great interest for most coaches—the topic of differing weekly training setups.
Different areas of the world seem to have slightly different general setups. For example, a common American setup alternates high-intensity sprinting/jumping/weight training days with low-intensity running and circuit training days, while a common European setup alternates sprinting/jumping days with weight training days throughout the week. Which training setup do you use? Who, or what, would you say influenced your programming style the most?
Bob Myers: I predominantly follow the European model in which sprint/jump days are followed by weight days. However, this is an oversimplification since sometimes this model is not followed, due to the goal of the training cycle. If absolute strength is the goal of a particular cycle, then sprinting and jumping becomes secondary.
Each cycle should have an overall goal or theme and, therefore, other aspects of the training, while not neglected, become less critical. This is how the weekly or other cycles reflect what is important in that time period. My training cycles were most heavily influenced by the great coaches of my time: Dan Pfaff, Gary Winkler, and Vern Gambetta, along with many other great minds in training theory, such as Tudor Bompa, Gerhardt Schmolinsky, and L. Matveyev.Each cycle should have an overall goal, reflecting what training is important in that time period. Click To Tweet
Todd Lane: Good question. I guess I’m more the American setup you referenced in your question. Through the years, I’ve begun to mix in more of some alternates at various times of the year, or back-to-back high-intensity days with the high-level athletes. For them, I feel like some change to training that we’ve done over a period of years is a good thing. Also, they often need a bigger stimulus to achieve new levels of performance. This would be followed by several days of low intensity.
Obviously, Boo Schexnayder (and the people who influenced him) has had a huge influence on my programming.
Nelio Moura: I don’t have a pre-established model, but I try to follow some concepts.
Technical training is always after the easiest days. We usually have a full rest day on Sundays, and an active recovery day on Wednesdays. Technique is trained on Mondays and Thursdays, but that can change during the competitive season. When we have technique, we also do some complementary strength training (weight lifting or plyometrics).
Weight Training: Two to three sessions per week, each session with a different goal (non-linear periodization). During the competition season, I normally prescribe a very short session of maximal strength (maintenance) on Wednesdays (recovery day).
Plyometrics: Two sessions per week, with a 72-hour interval between the sessions. Sometimes, for organizational reasons, I have to reduce the interval to 48 hours.
Speed: Tuesdays (flying 10m or 30m, in & outs, running over small hurdles, etc.) and Saturdays (usually at our speed ramp, in different combinations of uphill/flat/downhill).
On Wednesdays, we do active recovery (prophylactic work, medicine ball throws, easy interval training).
In order to try to answer, here is a model. Remember, it is flexible.
|Technique Weight Lifting||Sprinting Plyometrics||Active Rest||Technique Throws||Weight Lifting||Sprinting Plyometrics||Rest|
Dusty Jonas: My training setup and philosophy has been heavily influenced by my college coach and mentor, Gary Pepin. People who know me best know that I am voracious reader and I am on a constant quest for knowledge to learn all of the different ways to skin the proverbial cat. Much of what I have learned has come from reading everything I can get my hands on, from my experience as a volunteer coach, and from my time as a professional in track and field. I was lucky enough to pick up a lot of knowledge along the way in USATF high performance clinics, and from coaches that I was fortunate enough to meet and work with on various national teams.
As touched upon in a previous question, to develop a training plan you need to know the demands of the event and athlete, and train the qualities needed to succeed. In the fall, I typically train my athletes in a traditional GPP setup where we alternate high-intensity and low-intensity days. This usually allows the athlete sufficient recovery time between high-intensity or higher volume sessions. I generally favor five to six training days per week in the fall. A typical five-day setup would look something like this:
- Monday – Acceleration/power work, multi-jumps circuits, weight training
- Tuesday – Technical training, specific drill work
- Wednesday – Speed/power, plyometrics/multi-jumps, throws, weight training
- Thursday – Technical training, specific drill work, position work
- Friday – Tempo (extensive, intensive, hills, speed endurance), weight training
- Saturday – Active recovery or rest
- Sunday – Off
The SPP phase is very similar to GPP, but the focus shifts to much more event-specific technical work and more MaxV and specific speed endurance work. This may lend itself to more recovery time between training sessions.
The competition season varies from the GP and SP phases in the fact that this is the time of year where an athlete’s technique will not generally improve significantly with most collegiate programs having a competition every weekend. Most of the time is spent recovering and sharpening qualities that should have been developed early in the year. My competition weeks typically look like this:
- Monday – Acceleration/rhythm work, jumps circuits, med ball circuits
- Tuesday – Technical training, specific drill work (This is our biggest technical session of the week.)
- Wednesday – Speed/specific speed endurance, plyos/multi-jumps/throws, weight training
- Thursday – Light technical work, position work
- Friday – Pre meet
- Saturday – Competition
- Sunday – Rest
As far as American versus European training setups go, I think both have their merits. Choosing one over the other or something totally different will depend on the athletes that you have and the rate at which they develop. The more years I spend in the sport, the more I learn that one way isn’t always the best way. I find myself planning more around rest than anything else.
Neil Cornelius: Our track sessions in season usually alternate between jumping and sprinting, with the majority being high-intensity.
- Mondays and Tuesdays – High-intensity jumps and sprints
- Wednesday – Mid-intensity running and recovery
- Thursday – High-intensity jumping/technique
- Friday – Recovery running
- Saturday & Sunday – Rest
In the off-season, the setup changes in intensity a bit depending on the phase we’re in, but we still alternate our days between jump-specific and sprint-specific exercises. The high-intensity gym in the off-season occurs early in the morning on the days we are supposed to do sprints (twice a week), with the alternate days being kept for a recovery session in the gym. In season, I like to keep the gym intensity and frequency low to keep the track quality very high.
Kyle Hierholzer: Like most coaches, I have learned from each coach involved in my life along the way, and I am grateful for every single one. My two biggest influencers are probably Cliff Rovelto, whom I worked for at Kansas State for eight years, and Dan Pfaff, whom I co-coached with at ALTIS for three years. They’re my biggest influencers mainly because I could observe and learn from them daily, over long periods of time. In addition, Boo Schexnayder has always been open and eager to share. He and Todd Lane were my instructors for my Level II Jumps course 11 years ago, and both have continued to give back to the sport, and me, tremendously.I arrange activities to affect the bio-motor abilities: strength, speed, stamina, suppleness, skill. Click To Tweet
My coaching systems and style are some blend of my environment and the lessons learned from mentors and experiences. Today, when I write and implement training, I still structure activities around influencing the five bio-motor abilities: strength, speed, stamina, suppleness, and skill. Most of my background was in combined events, so I have a bias toward grouping activities based on commonalities and compatibility. I feel that this allows me to get the most bang for my buck when teaching an element.
When I think of organizing training days in a microcycle, I tend to categorize them as either “neuro” or “general.” Neuro days would be days that intentionally have a high impact on the athlete’s nervous system. Typically, these would be higher intensity, low-moderate volume days. General days would then be activities that help to restore the nervous system. General days include both working and rest days for me.
When further classifying days, I will think high-neuro, light-neuro, general, or a hybrid day (having both neuro and general components). Throughout the course of a season, we are working to be able to handle two to three back-to-back neuro days because that’s what we do in competitions. From Day One of training, that is what we are gradually working towards.
The weekly cycle structure for us might look like this throughout the course of a season:
|Mid||Light Neuro||Heavy Neuro||General||Light Neuro||Hybrid||General||Rest|
|Late||Light Neuro||Hybrid||Heavy Neuro||General||Light Neuro||General||Rest|
I’m happy to share training plans in more detail, just send me a message.
I write training in ranges and with many options so that we can readily fine-tune things on the day, while keeping the theme of the day or cycle. Regarding strength training, I view it as complementary to what we are doing on the track. I tend to marry it to the theme of the day and the cycle so that the teaching component can continue into the gym. I generally tend to keep it simple in the gym, focusing on one of three components: maximum strength, power, or general strength.
As the season goes along, we spend less time in the gym, and typically narrow the focus to only key exercises. The fluff drops away. I don’t use a lot of special strength exercises because I feel like we do plenty of them on the track, but I will on occasion in certain cycles. Especially if an athlete indicates a desire for this, or feels strongly that it’s necessary. I don’t mean to downplay the weight room at all; it is a significant part of our training and athlete development. However, it supports what we do on the track—it doesn’t drive it.
When I first started coaching, I wrote in four-week cycles. I followed a medium-medium-high-low loading routine in early season, and a high-medium-medium-low routine in the competitive season. Now, I almost exclusively write in three-week cycles with a mod-high-low rhythm in early season, and high-mod-low in later season. I’ve found the increased density of low weeks has worked well with my style of training design and implementation.
I’m still not exactly sure where I sit on the general prep versus special prep debate, but I would say I typically start on the general end of specific movements. For example, we do acceleration work during Week One of training, but it’s not in spikes, it’s for shorter distances, and it’s often focused more on the global aspects of the skill.
I have begun utilizing Coach Pfaff’s three-day rollover cycle during the competitive phase, and I am a believer in its effectiveness for most athletes. For more information on this, feel free to contact me, and I’ll happily discuss and share. The basics of it are to do an ergonomic study of the event to figure out the most important demands, and then focus solely on those demands. For a long jumper, this might globally look like the following:
- Day 1 = Acceleration development/power emphasis in the gym
- Day 2 = Jump technique/general strength
- Day 3 = Max velocity or speed endurance or intensive tempo/power and/or max strength
The guidelines for implementing the rollover are pretty straightforward:
- Always rest after a Day 3.
- Day 2 is a wild card and can be played anytime, except the day after a Day 3.
- The athlete can insert rest days as they choose at any other time.
- Insert normal pre-meet routines into the cycle as needed.
So, a two-week setup with competitions on Friday and the following Saturday might look like this:
|Week 1||Day 1||Day 2||Rest||Pre Meet||Comp||Rest||Day 3|
|Week 2||Rest||Day 1||Day 2||Rest||Pre Meet||Comp||Rest|
Or it could look like this…
|Week 1||Day 1||Day 2||Rest||Pre Meet||Comp||Day 3||Rest|
|Week 2||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Rest||Pre Meet||Comp||Rest|
Or several other options depending on the athlete…
The main variable we work with in this situation is density. We try to find the patterns that work best for each athlete. The athlete stays on the rollover for the duration of the competitive season, and we typically start it two to three weeks prior to the first serious competition of the season. Generally, if an athlete goes on the rollover for the indoor cycle, we’ll go back and do a few regular cycles before outdoor.
My training system is still evolving and changing. I always do my best to look at things through the common-sense lens. When in doubt, I reach out to my support circle, and I ask them to reel me back in. Grow your network, and contribute to it.
Stacey Taurima: Australia has a good history of horizontal jumping success. We seem to be predominately a nation based around “speed-based” jumpers. Although our track sprints history isn’t currently turning heads, our horizontal jumpers seem to be very competitive with runway speeds.My program is mostly KPI-driven, so the ‘capacity’ we’re developing will dictate the program design. Click To Tweet
The technical elements in sprinting, jumping, and lifting all tend to influence my training programs in both collegiate and junior developing athletes. Being ALTIS alumnus, Coach Dan Pfaff has probably been my most influential sprints and jumps coach to date, and through his teachings I’ve embraced the importance of working towards a technical model in all areas of the program.
The program is generally KPI-driven, so depending on what “capacity” we’re developing, this will dictate the program design.
The weekly outlook will generally commence after a rest day. The primary focus on the first session of the cycle will be to prepare the body for Day Two, which is generally the higher KPI focused session (i.e., technical jumps/plyometrics day). So, Day One (potentiation day) will blend into Day Two, and so on. Once again, the intensity/density will be determined by athlete needs, time of year, etc.
Alex Jebb: The training setup will vary depending on the time of year. As the year progresses, my group develops more variation in setup between the multis and the other jumpers/hurdlers. I’ve experimented with a few different setups, including the two you mention above, as I like to “guinea pig” things on myself before employing them with my athletes.
While it is possible to provide a solid justification for each of the many setups out there that work for a particular athlete, I think that the following setup works best for my athletes. For the most part, we’ll go:
- Monday – Accelerations/med ball or jump circuit/heavy lift with more of a concentric focus
- Tuesday – Short approach jumps/jump drills/extensive tempo
- Wednesday – Max velocity work/bounding/lighter lift through large ranges of motion with a focus on bar speed
- Thursday – Recovery day/throws work/pool or general strength circuits
- Friday – Either a speed endurance day or resisted accelerations/special lift (heavy on plyometrics, largest variation in squats on Fridays as we progress through the various themes)
- Saturday – Jump tech./intensive tempo or speed endurance
- Sunday – Splash around in the pool
I think this structure allows me to touch on everything I want to accomplish each week, and I have found it easy to layer in event-specific work into this setup throughout the year. This arrangement is conducive to implementing progressions within each event, as it touches on almost every component needed (acceleration, max velocity, speed endurance, technical work, various themes in the weight room, etc.), so it’s easy to progress each element at the proper pace for the athlete.