Before actual event specific work is accomplished, a period of time is spent developing general work capacities and developing bounding skills for the triple jump. ‘Rudiment hops’ are a valued part of this process and progression.
It is here where coaches have an awesome opportunity to teach the “how’s” and “why’s” of the jumping events from their foundation.
Early in the preseason, I begin with addressing posture, limb swing and contact patterns in all movements from the warm-up to the cool-down. General jumps technique comes in the form of skipping and takeoff drills. Skips for height, skips for distance and hurdle gallops were addressed by Ron Grigg at the 2015 Complete Track and Field clinic. I am going to add a multiple jump circuit to our fundamental drills list.
A video of each drill is shown at the top of this article.
For about the first two weeks of the preseason, I use rudiment hops to teach the balance, timing, and synchronization of jumping. Above is a series of very short bounds that Dan Pfaff and Boo Schexnayder use where the rise of the center of mass is restricted to a few inches high and the length of each hop is between one to three feet long.
I believe the rhythm of jumping comes from the uniform hip, knee and ankle flexion/extension. Maintaining its consistency over a given distance covered is the most important objective. Loud landings are a sign of rigidity and tension. Quiet contacts cue heel first landings and greater flexion of joints for impact absorption.
The middle portion of the circuit challenges coordination through single foot support drills. Single leg forward and backward is a teaching platform for more advanced plyometrics, but do not progress until mastery is achieved. It also allows coaches to view how the non-support side of the body helps in the athlete finding balance and synchronization.
Recommended Resource From Reuben Jones: The Unique Features of the Triple Jump…And How to Coach Them
Normally, I want the arms slightly hanging loosely by their sides swinging in their normal sprint patterns. The free leg should be kept a little underneath and a in front of the hips while being slightly extended. Lateral and medial bounds are useful for developing amortization skills in all directions.
Because of the number of advantages and benefits of this circuit, it has become the most important part of my general jump circuits. Rudiment hops develop elastic strength in the hip, quad, calf and ankle region. When injury slows down training, short rudiment work can reprogram the body’s computer for basic jump skills.
Coaches with limited facilities can use rudimentary movements as a “Plan B” for specific technical work, increasing the height of the jump and distance of the flight as abilities allow. Progressions must be done wisely before proceeding to full blown bounding work.
Rudiment hops lay the foundation for specific jump work later in the annual plan. I over emphasize heel first, flat footed landings throughout each mini jump.
It may take two weeks for your athletes to develop the necessary skills to begin bounding or it could take up to a year. Be patient, yet demanding of posture, contacts, and rhythm endurance.
Buyt, always remember, there is nothing more specific to training the triple jump…
…than triple jumping itself!