Yesterday I read the Riot Act to my group of sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers.
We’re changing training phases and that means each event group requires more event specific training. My life becomes monumentally more difficult because instead of having individualized event training twice per week like we did during general prep, we now have individualized event training four or five days per week. So I needed to set a new tone for this new phase of increased technical demand and expectation.
Admittedly, it’s a tough group to manage. It’s my first year in the program, so everything is new.
-Steps for the 400 hurdles? Many hurdles have given their lives this season.
-Low heel recovery during acceleration? My soul dies just a little during every acceleration workout.
-Penultimate step and run, run, jumps? Like watching kids have a seizure. And that’s never good.
-Leaning at the shin during high jump curve running? I might as well ask them to fly a space shuttle to the moon.
Plus, it’s the first time I’ve been responsible for *all* the sprint/hurdle/jumps events for roughly 100 boys and girls…with one first year assistant coach.
So I had to get on my kids yesterday. Because until I learn to defy the laws of physics, I can still only be in one place at a time. That means kids are going to have to learn to work on their own.
Their success or failure during Championship Season ultimately depends on my ability to teach them basic, fundamental movement patterns they can work through on their own or with the help of their teammates. Starting Day 1, if I teach it poorly, don’t know how to fix mechanical issues, ignore those issues or use ineffective progressions, my athletes will only reinforce bad habits and fail to execute when it counts.
And that’s my fault.
It would be great if kids magically knew how to focus, perform complicated drills and execute at full speed with everyone watching them. Sadly they do not. As coaches, it is our job to put them in position to succeed by continuously remediating drills until they become the default pattern of movement for each athlete.
The most effective way to both develop technically proficient athletes *and* make it happen sooner rather than later is to continuously pick up new drills, cues and training methods that you can apply and test out with your athletes.
For example, some kids respond better to cues aimed at driving the foot into the ground, i.e., push down and back, leave the foot on the ground behind you, drive through the heel, etc.
Some kids respond better to cues aimed at recovering the swing leg, i.e. punch the knee forward, flick the heel, crack the egg, hide the spikes, etc.
Different ways to skin the same cat.
So, keeping the aforementioned ideas in mind, here are 3 programs I continuously refer to when I need a new drill, a better workout or can’t figure out how to fix a problem:
1. Complete Speed Training 2: How to Build Champion Sprinters
Since I created this program, I don’t go to it for ideas. But I do go to it for drills and progressions because, unlike some other programs I have from Coaches Who Love Big Words, CST2 makes things easy and reminds me of simple ways to coach and cue fundamental drills and exercises. If you’re looking for a foundational program covering *everything* about sprinting, you’ll be referring to this program *years* from now.
2. Building the Perfect 100m Sprinter
Outside of CST2, Marc Mangiacotti’s Building the Perfect 100m Sprinter from Start to Finish is probably the best deal for the price in all of sprinting. Our philosophies are very similar so that makes me feel good about myself, but if you just want to focus on your 100m runners, this is the way to go. In fact, I believe strongly that we should train all of our sprinters (400 included), jumpers and hurdlers to be 100m sprinters because the acceleration patterns and qualities are foundational to all speed/power events.
3. Learning from the Legends Seminar
This Learning from the Legends seminar from Dan Pfaff and Tom Tellez is for those of you looking for more advanced concepts in sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. Two of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport, they cover a ridiculous amount of material over the course of 7.5+ hours. If you don’t learn something from this seminar, send me an email because you’re saying you know more than the guy who coached Carl Lewis.
Invest in any or all of these resources and I guarantee your athletes set new personal bests. It’s simply impossible for them not to. Check ‘em out! We can never stop trying to become better coaches!
To your success,